KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - The Sudanese government has inaugurated the country’s water strategy for 2021-2031 as the first ever unified national water strategy.
.According to a statement from the Irrigation Ministry the strategy is meant to provide water resources to millions of people, mitigate poverty and enhance the livelihoods in urban and rural areas. It also seeks to contribute to the consolidation of peace in war-affected areas.
Under the title “The Sudan Water Sector Livelihoods Transforming Strategy”, the text of the strategy detailed that it “strives to fulfill the aspiration of the deserving Sudanese people and deliver fast and visible results through expanding and improving the performance of irrigation schemes for a resilient irrigated agriculture in the country, servicing the population with reliable and accessible water supply and managing its water resources with the objective of satisfying the social, economic and environmental needs of the population.
To achieve this goal, the Sudan Water Sector Livelihood Transforming Strategy has set three impact-driven transformative strategic plans:
National Irrigation Transformation Plan:
Strives to mitigate the challenges and unlock the promise of the sector through five priority interventions
Infrastructural and institutional upgrading and modernization of 1.1 million Ha of irrigated land, informed by successful pilots
Development of 400,000 Ha of newly irrigated land, benefiting from new water storage facilities along the Atbara and Blue Nile rivers
Improvement of water productivity, with at least 50% more crop per drop in both the existing and new irrigation schemes, through the introduction of low to no-cost measures such as the optimization of irrigation duties and schedules to deliver immediate results without a long gestation period
Strengthening of institutions and human resources capacity building for irrigation staff, farmers’ representatives, and other relevant actors through short and long term trainings, internships, and secondments as well as on-the-job knowledge and experience exchanges
Contribution to the implementation of facilitative policies and transparent and participatory governance systems
The National Water Supply Transformation Plan endeavors to mobilize resources for the construction, upgrading, and modernization of some 25,000 gender-sensitive and disabled-friendly basic and safely managed water supply facilities. These interventions are expected to generate about half million employment opportunities. The ultimate goal is for all Sudanese people in rural and urban areas, including nomadic communities and their livestock, to have affordable access to a safe water supply
The National Water Resources Management Transformation Plan focuses on the revitalization, enforcement, and development of new regulatory and facilitative policies, strategy frameworks, and roadmaps towards normative foundations during the transitional period and beyond to 2031 through promises three impacts:
Fulfillment of institutional reform ambitions, implementation of catchment plans, and empowerment of water councils
Standardization of oversight, facilitative means, and alignment of competencies and policies between federal and state levels
Coordination and quality assurance of data for monitoring, assessment, allocation, development, and planning of the water resources.
It is to be recalled that Sudan’s share of Nile waters stands at 18.5 billion cubic meters per annum, according to the 1959 Nile water sharing agreement between Sudan and its Northern neighbor Egypt which was given 55 billion cubic meters of Nile water in the share.
Sudan is yet to exploit its share of the Nile waters stipulated in the agreement. But Sudan has also other water resources. Scores of seasonal rivers, water streams and creaks run throughout the country in addition to an estimated reserve of 4.3 billion cubic meters of ground and underground water.
Sudan is also privileged with a varying quantity of rain water which is suggested at 10 billion cubic meters, while some other suggestions put this amount in “ hundreds of billions of cubic meters.”
But there is consensus that the available water is “reasonable” and just needs good exploitation to be effected according to carefully drawn scientific plans, in particular in the light of the looming global water crisis resulting from the conditions of climate change that could lead to fluctuations in water resources and compromise the quantities of water forecasts during drought and flood periods. This could affect the quality of water and aggravate the water scarcity and threaten sustainable development.
Addressing the strategy’s inauguration on Monday Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok considered the achievement of the strategy an “expression of collective hope that came about after wide consultations.”
“We have underground and other water resources that can enable us to grow wheat in the Gezira and North Kordofan,” he said.
“The ideal exploitation of the water resources can turn our deserts into green meadows to achieve food security,” he added.
He said the challenges that face the water sector are represented in institutional weakness and weakness in capabilities to implement this sector’s policies and systems.
He also called for cooperation with neighboring countries with a view to providing and securing water for the coming generations.
For his part Irrigation Minister Yasir Abbas has said the strategy is concerned with the water sector and is based on three basic pillars: the water resources, the use of water in the irrigation and the drinking water sectors.
He said specialized experts from the Irrigation ministry and academics have taken part in the writing of the strategy “in addition to wide participation from the stakeholders and regional and international bodies specialized in water policies and strategies. The list includes the UN, the Unicef, the FAO and the World Bank, he said.
Prof. Abbas has further reaffirmed that his Ministry would seriously commit to the implementation of this strategy for the water sector to contribute to the Sudan’s future economic development in an ideal manner.
Sources said the strategy generally seeks to contribute to four major priorities for the Sudanese Government and its Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources:
1-To guarantee food security for at least seven million citizens in rural areas.
2- The creation of two million job opportunities for the youth.
3- Expanding and enhancing the performance of the irrigation schemes “for flexible irrigated farming” in the country and the management of the social, economic and environmental needs of the population.
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