The Project of Design, Rehabilitation, Upgrading and Extension of water supply network in Kigali City and peri- urban areas has begun bearing fruits in addressing water shortage in the different areas of Kigali and neighboring areas.
The project which is also named Kigali water network consists of the construction, rehabilitation, and extension of over 600km water supply network. It was implemented by WASAC since 2019 on a loan from African Development Bank (AFDB), and is expected to be completed in June 2023.
According to Xavier Rwibasira, Single Project Implementation Unit (SPIU) Coordinator at WASAC, before the project interventions, some areas could face water shortage for four consecutive days, and with the project interventions, water is currently supplied on a regular basis.
“Only 16 km out of more than 600 km water supply system have not yet been completed and the works will be complete at the end of June this year,” he said.
To improve the network efficiency, the project interventions include the replacement of old pipes to reduce non-revenue water, replacement of small distribution pipes, and increase of storage capacity and extension of the network in high populated areas.
The project installed seven pumping stations and constructed 47 water reservoirs with 86, 250 cubic metres storage capacity. The network sources water from Kanzenze water treatment plant with 40,000 cubic metres supply capacity per day, of which 30,000 cubic metres is supplied to Kigali while 10,000 cubic metres is supplied to Bugesera District.
Some of the areas that were facing persistent water shortages in Kigali include Kanombe, Busanza, Nduba, and others. In 2021, residents began to have access to clean water after 2 years of the project.
Through the project, approximately 398,300 people will have access to clean water in Nyarugenge, Gasabo, Kicukiro Districts of Kigali City, Runda and Rugalika Sectors of Kamonyi District in Southern province, Bugesera District in Eastern Province, Muyumbu and Nyakariro of Rwamagana District in Eastern Province, and Shyorongi of Rulindo District in Northern Province.
These areas were experiencing water rationing-a temporary suspension of water supply or had no water connection, but the problem was solved as they get clean water on a regular, except when there is a technical problem or leakage.
Rwibasira said that in this project, 21,000 old water meters are being replaced with new ones while 1,400 vulnerable households will get water connections free of charge.
Beneficiaries are grateful for the project
Emmanuel Rwamigabo, a resident of Gasanze cell, Nduba sector in Gasabo District said that due to water shortage, residents were using dirty water from valleys.
“There were school dropouts for some children because they used to spend a long time seeking water. Others would fight for clean water where it was available in other areas. The cost of one jerrycan of clean water was over Rwf400. All these issues have been addressed. We have had clean water since December last year,” he said.
He said that following the water supply, idle plots of land are being developed in Gasanze.
“I made the decision to build my storied-residential when we got water in Gasanze. The water is always available except when there is a pipeline broken,” He noted.
Claudine Yankurije, a resident of Kabeza village, Kanzenze Cell, Ntarama Sector of Bugesera District, said that they used to walk a long distance to buy clean water from Kigali.
“It required to pay Rwf400 per jerrycan. We used to send children to fetch unclean water from wetlands and this would affect class attendance and their hygiene.
Today people have taps in their homes and others use public water taps at only Rwf20 per jerrycan. Hygiene has drastically improved and we are hopeful that waterborne diseases will decrease,” she noted.
Janvier Niyibizi, another resident from Nduba sector said that they used to walk 40-minute distances to reach the spring of water saying it could take over four hours to get it due to long queues.
“We had to wake up at 02:00 am to go to the spring and get water at 06:30 am. Those who were not able to spend such time had to pay Rwf400 per jerrycan. We have got public water taps buying one jerrycan at Rwf20 and people are using their time in other income-generating activities,” he said.
Ernestine Benegusenga, the Coordinator of Agasharu village in Gatunga cell, Nduba sector added that many residents had shunned away from residing in the area due to water scarcity.
“There is a development boom in the sector, we are thankful for water provision .We have committed to wisely using water considering the way it is improving our lives,” she said.