Sudan-South Africa cooperation to boost water supply security
Nairobi, 10 November 2010 - To support improved water security in Sudan at a time of heightened concern over the potential consequences of prolonged drought, a high-level Sudanese delegation visited South Africa last week to study water management facilities.
The visit, arranged by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in conjunction with the South African Water Research Commission, gave senior Sudanese officials concrete examples of how to tackle the sustainable development, allocation and monitoring of water resources.
The study tour is part of UNEP's efforts to introduce new thinking into water resource management in Sudan, initially in Darfur, and achieve a long-term, integrated approach in conjunction with the government, civil society and other stakeholders.
The Darfur region has a high variability in water resources and 80 percent of Darfurians are dependent on rainfall and other environmental resources for their livelihoods.
The provision of water is a challenge across much of northern Sudan, but in Darfur, the displacement of over two million people has put unique stress on aquifers and compounded the region's chronic vulnerability to drought.
A serious drought in the current context could have devastating consequences and cause considerable social upheaval, despite the diligent efforts of public water corporations and international actors who have been building dams and installing wells and deep boreholes to supply water where it is scarce in Darfur.
Against this backdrop, the study tour for Sudanese officials included presentations on such topics as sustainable water supply; coordination mechanisms between government departments; the effects of climate change; discussions on water laws and policies in South Africa; inspections of modern ranches and citrus farms to view irrigation facilities and meetings with farmers and irrigators.