Around 6,000 people don’t have to fetch dirty water from the lake Muhazi anymore

22 Mar 2013

Water holds the key to sustainable development.  We need it for health, food security and economic progress.  Yet, each year brings new pressures.  One-in-three people already lives in a country with moderate to high water stress, and by 2030 nearly half the global population could be facing water scarcity, with demand outstripping supply by 40 per cent.  Competition is growing among farmers and herders; industry and agriculture; town and country; upstream and downstream; and across borders.  Climate change and the needs of populations growing in size and prosperity mean we must work together to protect and manage this fragile, finite resource.  2013 is the International Year of Water Cooperation, and World Water Day 2013 is dedicated to highlighting the joint efforts necessary to ensuring a fair share for people and planet.

In celebrating World Water Day, UNDP Rwanda visited the Decentralization and Environmental Management Project phase two (DEMPII) operating in Rwamagana district. The UNDP project is implemented in collaboration with the Rwanda Environmental Authority (REMA).

Local residents used to fetch water from Lake Muhazi. A new borehole changed this and the population says that it helped them to stay healthy.  “Before the construction of borehole we used to fetch dirty water in the Muhazi Lake and we were attacked by worms. This borehole helps us a lot to find clean water”, says Divine Bazivugiki, a19 years old girl, one of the local beneficiaries.

The borehole serves Gishari and Muhazi sectors with1182 families which consist of 5910 persons. To access clean water, these people walk between 100 and 800m from their homes. Radical terraces are constructed on 31 hectares in Musha sector. The total number of DEMP beneficiaries is 28432 people.  

According to Emmanuel Rwakayigamba, a local Government official in charge of environment in Rwamagana district, not only did DEMP provide the population around Muhazi Lake with clean water, but also with job opportunities when drilling the boreholes and constructing terraces to conserve the environment around the lake. “No other investor from abroad came here to take the money from the project. The money from these projects went in local people’s pockets, it developed them economically”, he said. At the beginning of the project, people were reluctant because they were obliged to leave at least 50 meters from the lakeshore as a public land.  But today they are aware of its benefits.

The DEMP 2 is a five years project that has been implemented in 2008 by the government of Rwanda through REMA.UNDP funds the project in collaboration with government of Rwanda.  The project cost 6,023,171US Dollars. The government‘s contribution is 403,000 US Dollars. DEMP 2 is a replication of the best practices achieved in the western province including the rehabilitation of fragile ecosystem such as lakes and rivers.

The current Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey (EICV3) done in 2010/2011 indicates that access to improved and safer drinking water sources increased from 70% to 74% nationally in the five-year period. Improvements were found across all provinces except Kigali City, which was already well served. The largest improvements were found in the Western and Eastern provinces.

When inaugurating the new water infrastructure in Nyaruguru district last week, the Minister of State for Water and Energy in Rwanda, Emma-Francoise Isumbingabo told the New times that the government’s policy is to supply safe water to all the citizens by 2017. “We want 100 % of the population served by the year 2017”, she said.