15 January 2013

Rwanda: Dry Taps in Rwamagana Worry Residents

Residents of Rwamagana district have decried persistent water shortage, claiming that the issue is not being handled as a necessity.

Many of the residents The New Times found queuing for water in the streets at the weekend said the shortage is affecting their daily lives.

Jean Baptiste Gakwerere, a resident of Kigabiro sector, said the water shortage needs urgent attention.

"We sometimes go for four months without a drop of water. I can't even remember when we last had constant supply of water. It is too much and affecting us in many ways, we need urgent response from concerned authorities," he said.

Damascene Muhawa, also a resident of the same area, said the shortage is a serious issue because most residents struggle even to get some for cooking.

Unscrupulous dealers

He said residents have had to pay a lot of money to buy water from unscrupulous persons seeking to make quick gains.

"We request the concerned authorities to intervene. The issue has been here for ages. Some people take advantage and sell a 20-litre jerrycan of water at Rwf200; we don't have enough water to maintain hygiene in our homes. Something must be done," he said.

The director of the Rwanda Energy, Water and Sanitation Agency, Rwamagana branch, Emile Karemera, acknowledged the shortage, but said it was exacerbated by pump failure at Lake Muhazi.

Karemera said the shortage in the district would be resolved by June.

"A pump was destroyed and has been under repair, so with the insufficient water supplied, the situation worsens. We want to double supply by June," he said.

Nehemie Uwimana, the district mayor, attributed the mess partly to population increase.

"Before 1994, Rwamagana's population was 17,000 people. The current population is well over 30,000 people, yet water supply has never increased despite population increase by such a margin. We should address the issue with such a background in mind," he said.

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