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Research firm Global Water Intelligence has named a financing model used in Rwanda’s Kigali Bulk Water Supply project as the 2018 Water Deal of the Year.

The project was recognised during the Global Water Summit held in France this week.

Claire McCollum, master of ceremony at the awards, said: “It is an exciting time for the international water industry, with some of the most significant opportunities the water sector has seen in a decade presented on the agenda for this year’s conference. It heralds a new paradigm for the water industry as the arrival of new technologies, businesses and sources of finance are empowering the water industry to rethink the way it does business.”

Under the $60,8 million project, the government of Rwanda signed public private partnership agreements with multiple financing organisations and providers of water management solutions.

Kickstarted in December 2017, the 30-month initiative aims to expand Kigali’s water supply resources to meet growing demand of water.

Rising water demand

The project includes the development of a new water treatment plant in Kanzenze, which will treat water sourced from Nyaborongo river.

Once completed, the project will provide 40 million litres of water a day, 40% of Kigali’s daily water demand.

The capital city’s rapid increase in population, which to date is exceeding 1 million, is stressing existing water resources.

The government through the Water and Sanitation Corporation of Rwanda secured a $40.6 million loan from the African Development Bank and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund. The loan will be paid back over a period of 18 years.

The government will also make use of $6.25 million grant won from intelligent water management solutions firm Metito.

Metito is also developing the water treatment plant through its subsidiary Kigali Water Limited.

Mutaz Ghandour, CEO at Metito, said: “The Kigali Bulk Surface Water Supply PPP project puts Rwanda on the map for the international investor community and marks a historic moment for Rwanda.

“Africa has huge potential and we expect this to continue as critical infrastructure develops around the provision of key utilities. To undertake such capital intensive infrastructure projects, the PPP scheme remains to be the best, and sometimes unavoidable, formula…”

Water tariffs and infrastructure investments

The news follows the release of a report by Global Water Intelligence stating the need for global water utilities to increase water tariffs by 5.9% a year through to 2030.

This will enable the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal on water and Sanitation by 2030.

The report says increasing water tariffs by 5.9% per annum will allow the generation of $449 billion, which is required to modernise water infrastructure yearly.

The report highlights the need for utilities to reduce reliance on government grants and increase focus on private public financing. Read more on 5.9% annual increase in water tariffs to meet Sustainable Development Goals

A full lists of winners of the Global Water Awards can be accessed here