Water firm closes in on illegal connections, defaulters

Wednesday October 07 2020

Rwanda Water and Sanitation Corporation will switch from the old to smart meters. Photo | Cyril Ndegeya


 Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC) will switch from the old meters to smart meters and automated system to minimize losses.

According to stakeholders in the sector, use of smart meters could allow the utility body to save at least Rwf15 billion annually and improve water supply countrywide.

Despite government heavily investing in increasing and improving water supply, the utility agency continues to lose a significant volume amid increasing demand.

The infrastructure ministry headed joint sector review team attributes the losses largely to inefficient billing and invoicing system, coupled with network leaks and illegal connections.

The company said the new meters were being piloted in selected branches in Kigali and a section of satellite cities prior to scaling them up in the coming months.

WASAC management declined to respond when asked for details regarding the extent to which it would lower the current water loss estimated at 44 per cent according to March water subsector report by Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (Rura).


Branch managers only told Rwanda Today that it could result in better customer service provision while easing revenue collection, detection of leaks and illegal connection as it sends alerts in the system.

The Rura March report indicated 44 per cent of more than 12.9 million cubic metres produced by WASAC for the quarter was counted as non-revenue water.

The rate which rose form between 37 per cent and 41 per cent over the past couple of years cast doubts on whether the utility is still on track to check the non-revenue water levels to below 25 per cent by 2022 as per its 2018 strategic plan.

Actors in the Water Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) sector, however, argue that much as a huge chunk of the losses are linked to old supply and distribution networks which required huge resources to overhaul, the utility firm still grappled with losses that technology can effectively end.

Maurice Kwizera, Country Director, WaterAid Rwanda said that in addition to the smart meter system, efforts need to be deployed to network pressure monitoring and remote risk monitoring, among others.

“High non-revenue water are a big concern for all of us. This is one of the areas we feel interventions are needed by the government and all partners to support the utility.,” he said.