EWSA blames water shortage on dry season, high demand

The Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA) has cited “irresponsible and excessive” use of water and the dry season amid rising demand for the current water shortage being felt mostly in the City of Kigali. 
City suburb dwellers queue for water during a past shortage. Officials have blamed current shortage on dry spell and human behaviour. The New Times/File
City suburb dwellers queue for water during a past shortage. Officials have blamed current shortage on dry spell and human behaviour. The New Times/File

The Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA) has cited “irresponsible and excessive” use of water and the dry season amid rising demand for the current water shortage being felt mostly in the City of Kigali. 

Addressing a news briefing in Kigali yesterday, EWSA Deputy Director-General James Sano  said water consumption in the dry season shot up in Kigali  because there are no other sources of water besides tap water.

 

Sano said the solution is to use water sparingly in a “more rational and responsible manner.” 

 

“Wetting dusty roads, irrigating gardens and washing vehicles excessively using treated water, while we have water deficit in the City, results in some areas getting no water, and leaving EWSA struggling to provide water services to some of its customers,’’ Sano told journalists. 

 

While water usage is a right, Sano said, it is prudent to use it in a responsible manner to allow rationing of available water. 

He said there is limited investment in water supply and treatment because of prohibitive costs. 

About 30 per cent of the population living in Kigali experiences intermittent water supply, according to EWSA. 

City growth

Statistics from EWSA show the current production capacity is about 70,000m3 per day, whereas the ideal situation would be to have a production capacity of about 120,000 cubic metres per day to satisfy all the City residents. 

Another factor responsible for intermittent water supply, Sano said, is the rapid city growth. 

Water consumption per capita, according to Sano, has significantly increased as a result of economic development of the country and the increasing number of Kigali residents, in particular, yet the investment in water has not increased at the same pace in the last 20 years. 

The problem is not water as a natural resource but supply costs, he said. 

Sano said Rwanda has enough water as a natural resource but with supplying challenges as water needs purification which is costly. 

According to the coordinator of rural water supply and sanitation national programme, Albert Yaramba, treating water costs Rwf200 per m3, while supply costs Rwf20 million per kilometre considering pumps, reservoirs, and other infrastructure and related services. 

However, Sano said despite the challenges, efforts are being scaled up to achieve the national strategic plan target of supplying water to all the population by 2017.

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