WASAC to end Kigali water woes by 2018

Sunday November 19 2017

Residents of Gatsata in Kigali queue for water at a stream on September 28, 2017. Photo by Cyril Ndegeya

Residents of Gatsata in Kigali queue for water at a stream on September 28, 2017. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA | NMG 

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The Water and Sanitation Corporation (Wasac) is aiming to end the current water shortfall in Kigali within the next six to eight months when work on the long-awaited Nzove plant upgrade is complete.

Wasac officials said work on the main plant, which is expected to boost capacity by 55,000 cubic metres per day, will be completed next month. Work on the distribution grid will then follow.

The Nzove project, whose initial completion deadline was not met, would put the total water production for Kigali at 145,000 cubic metres daily from the current 90,000 cubic metres.

“The upgrade will buy us time to carry out studies that will inform a water supply master plan for the city and the country. We hope to find a permanent solution to the water problems,” said Gisele Umuhumuza, the deputy chief executive of Wasac.

High demand

Rapid population growth, driven by urbanisation over the past few years has pushed demand for water to as high as 138,142 cubic metres of water daily.

Ms Umuhumuza said the tendering process for the master plan design was already underway and a consultant would be hired early next year.

Water shortages in rural areas and urban centres are made worse by the few water treatment plants and pumping stations used by Wasac. They are operating at suboptimal levels and many are vulnerable to climate variability.

Rainwater harvesting is yet to be fully adopted, further increasing a reliance on tap water amid growing demand for industrial and other uses.

As the country targets to deliver universal clean water by next year, Ms Umuhumuza said all current and future projects would focus on connecting priority areas like large public and commercial buildings, industrial establishments and vital facilities like schools and hospitals.

The Nzove plant upgrade is being carried out alongside rehabilitation and extension of a 512-kilometre water network around the city, which is expected to ease water shortages in Gikondo, Nyamirambo, Kanombe and parts of Kicukiro.

Other water projects worth Rwf26 billion ($30.4 million) are on-going in other parts of the country and include construction of water supply systems like treatment plants and a 1-400-kilometre distribution network covering different parts of the country; water supply systems expected to cover 1,200 kilometres across the cities of Rusizi, Huye, Muhanga, Nyagatare, Musanze and Rubavu.

The water supply system projects will be funded by the African Development Bank. Wasac officials said the goal is to bring water to within a distance of 500 metres from households.