Water Resources In Sudan

WATER RESOURCES IN SUDAN CONSIST  OF RAINWATER, RIVERS, AND SURFACE AND DEEP UNDERGROUND WATER. RAIN FALLS heavy in the South and middle of the country. Although the North is virtually arid, it has rich underground water reserves. According to the Nile Basin Water Agreement of 1959, Sudan’s share of the Nile water is about 18.5 billion cubic meters, but actual usage is currently about 12.2 billion cubic meters. The total seasonal inflow of water is around 3.3 billion cubic meters.Water from the valleys can be kept in reservoirs,or behind earth dams, to supply the needs of the human and domestic animal populations.The swampy lower plains and pools are traditionally the main sources of water for domestic animals.Underground water
resources, estimated to be 15.2 trillion cubic meters, are found under 50%of Sudan’s land. This strategic reserve is more than 200 times the total annual inflow from the Nile.

Exploiting the country’s considerable underground water reserves, to alleviate the impoverishing effects of water shortage, is one of the government’s major concerns and the international donor community is also involved is this aspect of development.

Having declared 2003 the “Year of Water”, 312 rural wells were completed during that year alone. In recent years, 100 rainwater reservoirs and 48 dams have been constructed and the government says that it has increased rural population access to water from 30% to 70%, at an average of 20 liters per day. The Ministry of Irrigation & Water Resources says it has spent $1.6 billion on water projects in recent years.

In Khartoum, installation of an urban water power station, expected to provide 100,000 cubic meters a day, is underway. The Sinkat water project on the Red Sea coast has been completed, along with a sea water purification
project. The sea water purification project is for temporary supply to Port Sudan, pending completion of the project to supply the city from Nile waters.

New water stations are underway in New Halfa, Khashm, Al Girba, Damazine, Jebelain, Fau, Karima, and Abidia, all in North Sudan. The National Water Corporation, in collaboration with UNICEF, is engaged in a project to dig 250 wells in the Darfur region. These wells are expected to substantially alleviate the perennial water crises affecting Darfur. For this project,the Ministry of Irrigation is using a rig with a 150 meter depth capacity. The rig was first
deployed to the capital of North Darfur, Al Fasher, where 35 wells are to be dug. The balance 215 wells will be dug in other major cities,as well as towns in the 200,000 square mile region. UNICEF estimates that, upon completion
the project will result in meeting water needs for 50% of Darfur’s population. Two more rigs are expected to be supplied by UNICEF and the British government.

The Islamic Development Bank has provided a $25 million loan for water projects in Darfur, but implementation of projects under this financing has been suspended owing to the conflict there, which has caused massive loss
of lives and population displacement. In the medium term, water sufficiency in Sudan is a matter of developing its available natural resources. However, as the century progresses,ground water resources will invariably decrease
with exploitation. The water sector needs long term strategic planning, in addition to investment for immediate alleviation of water supply deficits.