Click here for search results

Rwanda: Bringing Clean Water To Rural Communities

Last Updated: August 2009
Rwanda: Bringing Clean Water To Rural Communities


To remain on track to reach the Millennium Development Goal of 85 percent water supply coverage by 2015, access will have to expand steadily while new and existing systems remain operational and affordable. Annual funding for water must at least be sustained at its recent level. Funding for sanitation and environmental health promotion will have to be increased and restructured. Related operational approaches will have to be upgraded. Under the countrywide decentralization policy, these challenges will have to be met largely at the district level despite pervasive capacity gaps. Rapid urbanization calls for targeted programs to serve poor urban households and enlist consumer engagement and feedback in the regulatory process for water-supply and sanitation services.


IDA’s Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project targeted provision of basic drinking water facilities to serve about 370,000 people in rural areas and the promotion of better household sanitation and hygiene. The project’s simple water supply and sanitation systems are planned, operated and maintained by water users' associations (WUAs) with private sector support in communities that most need improved services. Grants—along with technical assistance—go directly to communities for constructing water and sanitation facilities.


By the time the project period ended at year’s end 2007, an estimated 472,000 people had gained access to improved water services.

- Water coverage In Rwanda stood at about 73 percent in 2008, up from about 55 percent in 2005.

- By December 2006, more than 12 percent of the country’s 830 water-pipe systems were privately managed. Eleven months later, in November 2007, the project target was reached with 20 percent of 850 systems under private management.

- Rwanda’s government significantly increased direct financing from the national budget for district water supply projects—providing US$2 million in 2006 and US$7 million in 2007.

- Some 70,000 students benefited from improved school hygiene thanks to adequate sanitation facilities and water tanks.

- So far, nine community development committees are able to program and execute water supply and sanitation investments, assisted by four partner organizations.

- In 2008, four piped water schemes (136 kilometers) serving 84,000 people and 20 public ecosanitation latrines were completed.

- Around 6.9 million of a projected population of 9.5 million Rwandans had access to safe water in 2008.


- IDA provided US$20 million.
- Along with other donor partners, IDA helped the government lay the groundwork for a unified implementation framework that provided the basis for harmonized donor support in the water sector. The framework is based on the government’s national strategy and program and medium-term expenditure framework.
- IDA promoted community participation in investment and maintenance decisions, and private sector participation in the provision of water-supply and sanitation services.
- IDA introduced a key management reform for water supply systems through development of public-private partnerships between decentralized water districts and local private operators.

Next Steps

IDA continues to provide policy advice and financing through budget support. District water supply projects and sanitation services will subsequently be financed from the national budget and implemented using national capacity and procedures. All water supply systems will be managed by local private operators under the control of district authorities. Under these provisions, Rwanda is expected to reach the Millennium Development Goal target of providing 85 percent of its population with potable water by 2015.

Learn More

Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (2000–07)
Project documents

For more information, please visit the Projects website.

Permanent URL for this page: