The government has received a grant worth US$21 million, (Rwf 12.5 billion), from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to increase access to clean water and sanitation in Nyagatare, Kayonza and Nyanza districts.
The Deputy Director, Energy Water and Sanitation Agency (EWSA), James Sano, made the announcement on the sidelines of a stakeholders’ workshop on a Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Phase II (LVWATSAN II) program, held in Kigali to share the designed programs and scope of intervention.
The funds are part of the US$110m provided by AfDB through the East African Community to finance the LVWATSAN II program which covers 15 towns, three in each of EAC’s partner states.
The project will see water production in Kayonza and Nyagatare towns increase by about 75 percent and doubled in Nyanza.
The three districts are currently considered the most affected by water shortages while also being some of the fastest developing cities in the country.
The project scheduled to be complete by 2015 covers water supply, hygiene and environmental sanitation, urban drainage improvement and capacity building to train EWSA and districts’ employees.
It will also include solid waste management, supply of solid waste tractors and establishment of landfills in the three towns.
The initiative, among others, is aimed at supporting secondary urban centres address environmental degradation and enable them to achieve the water and sanitation related millennium development goals (MDGs).
The Mayor of Nyagatare, Fred Sabiiti, explained that water is one of the major challenges facing the district.
“Despite the government’s move to address this challenge, water is still a problem in our district. This will be the answer,” Sabiiti said.
Nyagatare currently gets between 2,500 and 3,000 cubic metres daily, which is very little compared to the number of residents.
Sano also noted that the government, in collaboration with development partners, is implementing various projects in the country to further address the problem of water shortage.
Currently, 80 percent of urban and peri-urban centres have access to clean water within a distance of 200 metres, while in villages, it stands at about 76 percent, accessed within 500 metres.
“We are implementing projects in 20 districts and rehabilitating the existing non-functioning water supply schemes,” Sano explained.
He stated that EWSA is also promoting public-private partnership by delegating water supply services to private operators, especially in rural areas.
“We want to increase on the number of water kiosks, especially in villages and capacity building within EWSA and in districts,” he said.
He, however, noted that EWSA still faces a challenge of many people who do not live in settlements, making it expensive to supply water to households.
Currently, only about 56 percent of Rwandans live in settlements popularly known as Imidugudu.
During the meeting, an agreement was signed between EWSA and mayors from beneficiary towns on the implementation of the project.