Rwanda is a developing country, and has issues in supplying clean and accessible water for all its population. Rwanda is rich in water resources, but has yet to construct the infrastructure to harness these resources. In addition, the topography makes it difficult to install public water systems (Robin Spencer). According to the World Health Organization, only 65% of the Rwandan population has access to clean water. The other 35% gets their water from unsafe sources or must travel long distances to access clean water.
Consequences of Water Crisis in Rwanda
Water is crucial for life. Its shortage deeply affects the well being of the Rwandan population. The lack of clean and accessible water in Rwanda increases the spread of diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, and typhoid. These diseases, although curable and preventable, are daily killers and disabling people at an alarming rate (Mars Hill). The high childhood mortality, one in five, is mainly linked to “the prevalence of deadly diarrheal diseases” (Mars Hill).
About 28%, mainly women and children, walk nearly two hours every day to access clean water (Robin Spencer). Many children often miss school hours completing this laborious chore before going to school. Also, these children do not get enough time to review their school materials as they must repeat their task in the evening. This affects greatly the academic performance of children. In 2008, according to the Rwanda Examination Council, only 27% of the students who sat for the national primary school comprehensive exam were able to successfully pass the exam (Nambi).
Agriculture is the main source of revenue for nearly 90% of the population of Rwanda (World Vision). Many farmers depend on the availability of water for irrigating their fields. Walking four hours to get one 20-liter jerry can of water for the household is laborious enough, but to retrieve enough water to supply fields of crops is nearly impossible economical. The government of Rwanda reports that 57% of its population survives on less than $1 per day (Beeman). The poor health of the population because of the lack of access to clean water impacts the economic productivity of the whole nation.
However, the problem of access to clean water in Rwanda has come to the attention of the government of Rwanda, and also to the international community. The Rwandan government has increased the provision of water in many sectors of the country. The Rwandan utility company, Electrogaz, has also managed to increase its supply of clean water. The Rwanda Clean Water Project has also impacted many Rwandan families with clean water since 2005. The International Development Association (IDA) and Living Water International are all organizations that are helping in the improvement of water access in Rwanda (Nambi).