Works to upgrade and expand water networks stretching at least 1,008 km around the City of Kigali will start soon as part of the efforts to address the persistent water shortage in different suburbs of the capital, according to the utility body.
Newly appointed CEO of Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC), Aimé Muzola told The New Times that there is a three-year project to upgrade and rehabilitate water networks in Kigali, whose implantation is already allocated funds under the 2017/18 budget.
"Kigali city suburbs have for years suffered water shortage which we are trying to address. We have different projects to increase water volume but at the same time upgrading and expanding water networks to enable seamless supply to different neighbourhoods," said Muzola.
He said that the first phase of upgrading and rehabilitating old water networks will cover 502 kilometres while working on setting up new networks in a project that will extend to over 1,000 and will be completed in the next three years.
"We will increase the width of pipes that are too narrow and also increase kilometres (length of networks) to other areas far from existing ones while rehabilitating old pipes in areas such as Nyamirambo," he said.
The WASAC CEO explained that procurement process for the project implementation has started.
He added that in two months, Nzove Water Treatment Plant will add 15,000 cubic metres of water to Kigali city.
"With water plants increasing the volume of water supply, it also requires to widen pipes and increase water networks to cover more areas in need of water," he said.
Kigali is currently supplied with 90,000 cubic meters per day while there is need of 120,000 cubic metres.
The current status (90,000 cubic metres) was recently achieved after the first part of the Nzove plant project added 25,000 cubic metres to the then 65,000 earlier produced and officials are optimistic that soon, the required 120,000 will be achieved.
Other medium term projects in the pipeline include production of 40,000 cubic metres from Mutobo water source in Northern Province as part of efforts to increase water supply to 160,000 cubic metres by 2020 in the capital.
Another project in Bugesera is planned to produce 40,000 cubic metres of water, which will also be channelled to some parts of Kigali.
Muzola added that upgrading, rehabilitating and expanding water networks will continue in six secondary cities apart from Kigali city according to the developed master plan.
The project extension to secondary cities could also see the rehabilitation of about 393 (38%) dysfunctional water supply systems out of 1,029 supply systems reported last year especially in rural areas, works the utility body said would require Rwf12bn for the rehabilitation.
"Besides addressing water shortage, the projects will be able to reduce losses caused by old and damaged pipes," he explained.
The water branch managers from different districts who were gathered in a retreat at the weekend pledged to increase efforts in enhancing service delivery in water supply as well as revamping revenue collection but appealed for logistical support.
They complained of having one car for each branch which constrain them from reaching the so many clients to issue water bills and cut on water losses by fixing in good time the pipes that are periodically damaged.
Speaking during the retreat, the Minister for Infrastructure James Musoni said that more projects are in the pipeline to curtail water shortage in the country but called for coordination between branches and the utility headquarters for efficiency.
Water shortage has been a persistent problem mainly in Kigali where some neighbourhoods go for weeks without water, especially during the dry season.
Due to the shortage, water is so expensive that in some areas, a 20-litre jerrycan goes for up to Rwf500.