Govt plans long-term solution to water shortage woes

Friday May 10 2019

water

The Nzove Water catchment has been accounting for more than 72 per cent of water supplied in Kigali City. PHOTO | Cyril NDEGEYA 

JOHNSON KANAMUGIRE
By JOHNSON KANAMUGIRE
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The government said it is coming up with new fresh water supply master plans for the entire national territory to help find a long-term solution to the supply-demand disparity fuelled by rapid urbanisation.

Official data shows that while the country registered progress in delivering fresh water supplies, the pace still lagged behind that of urbanization and industrial developments.

Officials from the Water and Sanitation Corporation (Wasac) said there is still a big percentage of the urban population who are not connected as existing water supply systems are old or are operating above the capacity they were initially built for.

Water projects have mostly been focusing on short and midterm solutions for the persistent water shortage, with a major focus on sealing leakages of old water distribution systems, replacing pipes or extension of water plants overloaded by current demand. However, Infrastructure Minister Claver Gatete said this would soon change when the government comes up with study-based water demand projections for the entire country, to help come up with projects that will meet users’ water needs in the long-term.

According to Mr Gatete, an Italian firm Lotti Ingegneria had been contracted to design the National Water Supply Masterplan by October, while the detailed water supply Master plan for the City of Kigali would be completed by September 2020.

Rwanda Today learnt that the government had tasked the master plan designers to gauge the possibility of coming up with improved water sources for a maximum distance of 500 metres in rural areas and 200 metres in urban areas.

The work involves assessing the current situation of water supply and demand and its potential in the specific areas of the country, as well as identification of projects that can be implemented large or small that can be implemented under the 15-year investment plans.

The lack of such data had been cited as having contributed to the government’s failure to meet the set target of universal access to quality water and sanitation by 2017/2018 as per the second phase of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy.

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