Construction of the Rwf43 billion Kigali central sewerage system is to commence mid next year.
The announcement was made after completion of a feasibility study that took several months.
According to Bruno Rangira, Kigali City Council’s public relations officer, the project was delayed because it was not in line with the Kigali City master plan.
“The Kigali City master plan came after the project was designed and we had to update the two luckily for us we had not embarked on the construction phase,” he said.
“The city commissioned another task force composed of people from Energy Water and Sanitation Authority, the Ministry of Infrastructure and representatives of financiers to review the project while harmonising it with the master plan,” added Mr Rangira.
The Kigali master plan covered infrastructural projects, which include the road network, street lighting and the drainage system.
For instance, the plan was to ensure construction of inner and oute ring roads to widen the existing road network within a period of five years.
The central sewage system that has now been included in an harmonised document will be located at Gitikinyoni and link Nyarugenge district to lower and upper Kiyovu, Kimihurura and Kacyiru.
Currently individual businessmen and private companies have been forced to construct their own sewage treatment plants close to their buildings, which they say take up to five per cent of the cost of starting a business. Small businessmen build septic tanks to dump waste water.
According to Denis Karera managing director of the Park View Hotel located in the city, building a small treatment plant is expensive and if badly built, it can burst causing a total mess in the neighbourhood.
“We will be glad to connect our small businesses to the city central sewage system, it will be cheap; the cost of what we pay when building treatment systems will be saved,” explained Mr Karera.
The business community said some investors have been unable to set up business in Kigali for for lack of effective sewerage system.
Alphonse Nizeyimana, the Council vice mayor, said once the project is completed, there will be a “new dawn” in Kigali.
“Waste water issues in different prisons have been sorted out. It would be very surprising to hear residents neighbouring prisons still complaining, because we told prisons managers to install treatment plants that will collect waste water and transform it into clean water,” said Mr Nizeyimana.
The vice mayor was optimistic that the construction will take off next year since all the hurdles was cleared by a task force that included the project into a master plan.
“We are certain that this time round the project will start and give Kigali a new face. We have wasted a lot of time,” he added.
Julien Nkera, a resident of Gasabo district, told Rwanda Today that in the past residents staying around the former Laico hotel, Muhima down national prison and Kimironko could not stand the stench from the open sewer system.
“The situation might have changed, although you hear of a burst a septic tank here and there. We think that with a central sewage system in place, we won’t face those problems any longer,” Mrs Nkera added.
Mrs Nkera hoped that once the city council completes the sewer projects Kigali residents will enjoy a clean environment free from bad smells.
She said waste water if not properly managed ended up in marshlands posing health and environmental risks.
An environment report by the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) last year indicated that sanitation facilities in urban areas especially in Kigali, do not meet the required standards.
According to the REMA report, there is a need to encourage real estate developers to provide central sewerage systems for their housing units.
The report said public-private developers were key in achieving Vision 2020 to propel the country into a middle income state.