Clean and safe water, a dream for many in Karongi and Kagarama cells, Karongi district!

For many residents of the areas surrounding Kiziba refugee camp in Western province, safe and clean water is a dream, especially in Bwishyura sector because of serious water shortage.
The affected areas are Bwishyura and Kagarama among others in Karongi District which have natural water sources in the hills that are however difficult to access because of the hilly nature of these areas.

With limited accessibility to water in this district for long periods of time, it is also putting the population both from within and outside the camp at health risks.
When children drink contaminated water, they risk severe illness and even death from water borne diseases.

According to Nyirahategekimana, a mother of grown up children who left the village for greener pasture and a resident of Karongi cell says that water is not only scarce but also not affordable for many people from the single water source which is expected to be used for domestic use andwatering our vegetables.

Ntirenganya Thomas says that his family needs at least ten jerrycans of water daily in order to carry out the household chores. However, one jerrycan costs Rwf 30 which is too much for a normal rural citizen with no steady income and requests for a reduction on the price or to at least bring water pipes in the area to save young children dropping out of school to fetch water for money.

The launch of this project saw the inauguration of a 17km water pipeline in Karongi, constructed with the assistance of Korea international cooperation Agency but till today doesn’t help the community but individuals got their own water which they sell at 20-30 rfw per jerrycan, which is a high price to a rural citizen with no sustainable income.

A woman fetching water from one of the natural sources down the hill.
(courtesy photo)

“We haven’t got water for two years yet some individuals got connected and sell it at a high price”, Nyirantoragurwa Donatilla said.

“Water sources are down in the valleys and are only accessible to those who are strong enough and if not, you have to buy water at 100-200rwf which we can’t afford. Lack of water is causing malnutrition and hunger; you can’t get money to fetch water every day. Due to this, sometimes we sleep hungry because of lack of water even when we have food in the house.” She continued.

Rwanda is significantly impacted by the water crisis due to factors such as its hilly nature, poor management of water resources, population growth and urbanization, climate change, water contamination, and education about water treatment and safety.

“Plans are underway to construct Musogoro water treatment plant to supply 7,000 cubic meters of water per day”, Isaac Imanantirenganya, the WASAC district support manager disclosed, underscoring that this is a sustainable solution to water shortage in the area.

“The new treatment plant with sustainable solutions will start next year,” he said.

Changes in policy implementation and construction of more widespread and strengthened infrastructure can help to reduce the impacts of low water availability and poor management and we look forward to the plans being made by those in authority to battle these challenges.

Twahirwa Umumarashavu Janat