The 7th Edition of International Water Association, Water and Development Congress & Exhibition (IWA – WDCE) has opened in Kigali bringing together global experts to share experience and best practices to address the current challenges to attain the Sustainable Development Goal 6.
SDG 6 requires attaining “clean water and sanitation for all” by 2030 however current progress shows that 2.2billion lack safely managed water, 3.5billion lack safely managed sanitation, and 2.2billion lack basic hand washing facilities.
To meet the target, the UN states that drinking water must multiply by 6, sanitation 5 times and hygiene 3 times, however only 44 countries are close to the target and Africa dominates lagging behind.
To find solution, the congress, organized by the International Water Association (IWA) in partnership with Rwanda’s Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC) will run from December 10-14, 2023 bringing together 1,000 experts under the theme: “Water, sanitation and climate resilience-keys to a water wise future.
The event will be covering five thematic areas of drinking water treatment and supply; waste water treatment and sanitation service; integrated water management and planning; utility management and operation; governance and finance.
The IWA conference and exhibition opened this Sunday by the Minister of Infrastructure, Eng. Jimmy Gasore will also be an opportunity to network, and share knowledge in best practices in latest water management technologies and expertise.
Dr. Gasore called on the attendees to exchange knowledge and expertise in confronting global water and sanitation challenges, pointing out that water plays a key role in urban development, climate resilience, and the cities-basins link.
IWA President Tom Mollenkopf said the challenges in water are global and this conference doesn’t only give an opportunity to learn from others but to learn from Rwanda’s best practices.
“There are numerous challenges but IWA wants to focus on opportunities, bring on civil society and engineers. This is the only way we can make significant change,” Mollenkopf said.
Mollenkopf stated that there is no need to lose faith in meeting SDG6 but renewing efforts at the heart of the congress where they plan to engage technical experts with policymakers and financial and civil society to raise awareness and align sustainable solutions for the remaining six years to the target.
Rwanda in Focus
IWA says that the work that has been done in Rwanda can be shared with other partners globally to think of water beyond pipes and pumps but ways of making water safe and available sustainably without damaging the environment.
“The congress will also showcase latest products, research and technologies in water management but also be an opportunity to enable us to address the challenges of waste water and non- revenue water,” said Professor Omar Munyaneza, the CEO WASAC.
Eng. Dominique Murekezi, the Acting Managing Director WASAC Development Ltd stated that Rwanda will showcase the success story of the Kigali Bulk Water Project -a Public Private Partnership (PPP) investment in collaboration with the private sector.
Others are the water and sanitation master plan 2050, reform policy in water decentralization and to learn (usage and its challenges) from Asians how to roll out the cheap and reliable smart water meter technology program which is currently piloted in Kayonza and Rwamagana districts.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Infrastructure, Fidele Abimana thanked IWA for selecting Rwanda as a destination for the international event. 82% water access to date and want to hopefully reach 100%.
Abimana stated that Rwanda has received $274.2m in funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to implement water access projects in Nyaruguru, Huye, Gisagara, Gatsibo, Kayonza, Ngoma, Gicumbi Kivu belt area, plus Nzove plants rehabilitation to increase production capacity.
“We hope this will enable us to reach our goals,” Abimana said.
The IWA – WDCE is a leading global water meeting, held every two years that aims to address challenges of water around the world.
The previous one was in Colombo, Sri Lanka 2019 and the Kigali conference is the 2nd held in Africa after the one in Nairobi, Kenya in 2013.