Water resources in the SudanMon, 25 Sep 2017
Water is one of the most important natural resource for humans, which is used for the economical, social, and recreational activities. Agriculture and industry are considered as one of the most economic activities depending on the water.
Sudan falls within the scope of countries which are suffering from water scarcity, even though Sudan has adequate water resources from multiple sources such as rainfall and surface runoff (perennial and seasonal) about 22.6 Miller m3 , despite the availability of these sources to the extent that to satisfy its sufficient need, but they suffer from difficulties representing high volatility of rain and poor distribution and frequent droughts next to the restrictions in accordance with the Nile Water Convention in 1929 and the limitation of the curtail role of reservoirs and dams, along with the lack of subsurface water basins and limited use.
Civic development in Sudan, the increasing of population and rising standard of cost of living determine good strategy to utilizes water resources and make use of it.
• Rain resources
• Sources of river and valley waters
• Seasonal runoff surface water resources
• Dams and embankments
• Summary and recommendations
Resources are determined as a process or an occupation the man performs to meet his needs or, otherwise, they are realities of environment which the man benefits from. In this context, thinks that any environmental element cannot be considered as a natural resource or a source of wealth and production unless this element helps achieve one of humanitarian ends. On his part, confirms that resources can only acquire a real value if they are utilized and capitalized on. Therefore, like water resources, natural resources have invariable quantity but their value changes according to needs of man. Hence, resources can be defined as invariable natural assets which confer a specific value on the economic activity and which vary according to their sources.
Water is the most important natural resources for human being who needs water for all his biological operations as water poses 65% of adult man mass. Additionally, human being needs water to meet his economic, social and recreational activities. Since long time ago, water has largely determined for human groups their settlements, advancement, prosperity of civilization and achievement of economy.
Importance of water consists in the following:
1. Existence and development of plant kingdom.
2. Creation and development of man and animal kingdom.
3. Consolidation and completion of photosynthesis.
4. Facilitation of dissolution of most organic and inorganic compounds.
5. Water represents a main factor in forming members.
Notwithstanding abundant water on the Earth, only 3% of the quantity of this water is fresh and even 75% of fresh water is frozen at the two Poles and on tops of mountains. So, fresh water is not available for the man, yet it is certain that this water isn’t exhaustible nor does it increase or decrease on earth but it rotates in an unending water cycle thanks to solar energy. So, source of fresh water is rains and snows that feed rivers and aquifers on which man depends on for his life. Nevertheless, rains do not fall in equal amounts on the ground as there are dry, semi-arid and humid areas.
Both agriculture and industry are more of economic activities that use up water across the world, for instance the USA needs 41% of the total consumed water for agriculture, i.e. about 450 billion liters of water to irrigate agricultural lands. Furthermore, the USA needs 52% of the total consumed water for industry, i.e. about 552 billion liters of water for industrial production . However, water is one of the more important natural resources which are involved in all operations of industrial and agricultural production. In this regard, one ton of any of the following crops and products needs water in cubic meters as follows :
A ton of wheat needs 1800 cubic meters of water.
A ton of rice needs 500 cubic meters of water.
A ton of cotton needs 7500 cubic meters of water.
Industry of a ton of papers needs 17000 cubic meters of water.
Industry of a ton of steel needs 28.500 cubic meters of water.
Industry of a ton of aluminum needs 140000 cubic meters of water.
Sudan is a part of the region of Arab nations which suffers from an acute shortage of water resources as 90% of these Arab lands are located inside dry and semi-arid climatic domains in which annual amount of rain is less than 250 mm. however, 5% of these regions enjoy an amount of rains ranging from 500 to 900 mm, knowing that climate of Mediterranean and seasonal semi-tropical climate prevail in northern and southern parts of these districts respectively . Also, studies conducted by the Forum for Best Utilization of Water Resources in the Sudan (2003) noted to an apparent shortage of water reaching 9.7 billion cubic meters if actual requirements of water resources of 31,5 billion cubic meters are compared with the current available amount of water reaching 22,6 billion cubic meters .
Sources of water resources in the Sudan:
Though multiple sources of water resources are abundant in the Sudan, the country depends on three main sources, with different ratios, to provide water resources. These sources are rain water, waters of rivers and valleys with perennial and seasonal runoff and underground water.
Rainfall in Sudan poses the main climatic element for waters with which land utilization systems and growth of vegetation are linked (increase and decrease of quantities of rain and rainy days are of paramount importance in the Sudan because they help feed soil with the necessary humidity for growth of plant as well as they feed valleys with water and increase seasonal and perennial surface runoff and rate of water pumping into underground basins. On another hand, the increase of rainfall rate with regular distribution of it helps boost up density of germination and vegetation with improving the rate of agricultural, animal and forest production and maintain sustained resources and protect soil against erosion factors and, also, preserve both productive and consumed environment .
Factors Affecting sources of rain water in the Sudan: (problems)
Rains in Sudan are of Convection nature as they are affected with intertropical convergence zone which, itself, is affected with conditions of atmospheric pressure across the African continent and its surrounding regions . These rains, however, are subject to the same climatic factors and impacts which prevail across tropical regions in summer where virtual movement of the sun towards the Cancer causes climatic changes making the low atmospheric pressure prevail over North Africa and, thus, attract winds from adjacent regions of high atmospheric pressure. Hence, humid south western winds start penetrating south western part of the Sudan in early June and advance northwards to compel the dry north eastern trade winds retreat at the convergence area which is known as intertropical convergence zone (I.C.T.Z). Therefore, the beginning and end of rain season in the Sudan is linked with the location of intertropical convergence zone.
Convection rains in the Sudan are caused by movements of humid air towards high atmospheres as a result of convection elevation where the more the air gets higher, the more temperatures get low (Temperature inversion) and the process of condensation becomes possible. During summer, natural conditions in the Sudan, as far as temperature and unstable atmosphere are concerned, make effective convection movements all over the country. This makes fronatl elevation play a principal part in prompting humid south western winds on to higher atmospheres where condensation becomes possible . Actually, occurrence of condensation in the Sudan depends on the depth of the humid south western winds where depth of winds gradually increases inside Sudan as of early March to reach its high levels in late August. So, there is an increasing process of condensation and that clouds are formed more to the south of the site where intertropical convergence zone stands. Here, probability of condensation over the Sudan reaches higher levels at the southern border region and, thence, begins decreasing wherever we go northwards where depth of humid winds decreases to reach its lowest levels at the site where intertropical convergence zone stands . This explains scantiness of rains wherever we go northwards.
Periodic and annual variations and general trend of rainfall
Variation of rains means the increase or decrease in quantities of rain from year to year and from month to another as it means distribution of rains during the year and month. However, there are two ways for studying the general trend of rainfall and for definition of the annual and monthly periodic changes in order to know variations of rains. The first method is adopted by Amin Al Tom (1974), Al Qassas (1999) and Tireifi (2003). This method depends on counting the annual variation which is measured with coefficients of deviation that articulate, through increasing or decreasing, the difference of the annual amounts of rains in relation to the annual rain average. So, in this arithmetic process, annual average = total amounts of rain registered in years of registration ÷ number of these years (Y),
Coefficients of deviation = Y÷ N × 100
These studies concluded that coefficients of deviation are less in areas of high averages of rain but they increase in areas of small averages of rain. This indicates that high rate of deviation refers to high variation in rainfall from a year to another in the Sudan. On another hand, the large disparity in coefficients of deviation among climatic registration stations in the Sudan indicates that the more we move northwards, the lesser the amount of rain gets.
Qassas (1999) explained that high rate of deviation indicates that the change from season of small rain to season of high amount of rain suddenly, yet randomly, occurs from a year to another. This means high oscillation of rain amounts will be dominant from a year to another when this oscillation of rain marks the fall and is considered as one of climatic phenomena which excessively impact on the ecosystem and the groups whose life depends on this system.
The second method is adopted by Musa (1999), Abdel Mula (2000) and Al Amin Al Sheikh (2002). This method depends on counting the general trend line by using half averages to define the trend of rainfall as to increasing or decreasing. On his part, Bilal (2005) explained that all studies with their different manners confirmed the high oscillation of rain rates in the Sudan where this fluctuation of rains directly threatens water resources, considering that this fluctuation is accompanied with a big flaw in the ways of rainfall which often falls in swift showers where their water is quickly drained by valleys and khors in a way that lessens benefiting from this water as a development resource.
Drought and drought events
Drought is a geographical phenomenon across the globe regions in which water resources made by downpour are less than amounts of water which may be faded by evaporation and transpiration. This phenomenon is defined by Al Tom (2000) as a natural event caused by lesser amount of rainfall than the rate needed by plant. On their part, both Zahran (1998) and Asheikh (2003) defined the event as a long period during which rain does not fall while causing a serious water imbalance. As to drought events, they are one of downpour qualities in all dry, semi-arid and semi-humid regions where years of less than average rain are marked with drought events. The drought events are, as a rule, a shortage in amounts of downpour in one rainy season which may extend to numerous dry seasons.
Abdel Maqsud (1982), Judah (1998) and Al Hafyan (2001) stated that Sudan had experienced a robust fluctuation from humidity to drought in some non-successive years, yet drought of successive years is as follows:
1. Drought event extending from 1912 to 1915 coincided with the declining of the River Nile level to a lowest level known to date.
2. Drought event extending from 1923 to 1927 which experienced a remarkable decline in water resources and production of agricultural crops.
3. Drought event extending from 1968 to 1973 which coincided with the famine that struck most of the nations of the African Coast.
4. Drought event extending from 1980 to 1984 which resulted in the famous 1984 famine.
Both Shahain (1990) and Mohammed (2015) confirmed that drought events prevailing in the Sudan are obviously, yet swiftly, accompanied with destruction of the originally exhausted biological domains due to the scanty water resources. On his part, Qassas (1999) emphasized that there are some criteria linked with shortage of water resources. These criteria, which are considered as evidence of drought and desertification, have considerable contribution to scarcity of water resources.
Sudan report on the project of climate change, issued by the Higher Council for Environment, 1999, stated that there are two kinds of drought in the Sudan caused by fluctuation of rain. These types are the following:
1. Drought that covers large areas of northern Sudan as a result of oscillation of rainfall under general medium average. This type of drought is an extension of that of the African Coast.
2. Local drought which impacts on a specific area of the Sudan but does not include the other areas, the example of which is the drought that struck both regions of Kordofan and Darfur in 1984.
Sources of surface waters running through rivers and valleys can be divided into perennial and seasonal runoff.
Sources of surface waters of perennial runoff:
It is represented by the main course of the Nile and its main branches originating from lakes outside the borders of Sudan. These branches are the following:
• Blue Nile:
It originates from Lake Tana in the Abyssinian Plateau which provides the river with about 7% of its annual resource of water. Additionally, the rest of tributaries and vales and khors provide the Blue Nile with about 93% of its annual resource of water. However, most of these vales are seasonal tributaries, the more famous of which are rivers of Disa, Adaius, Dindir and Rahad. As well, a group of valleys and khors which gather rain water from the large area of the basin in the Abyssinian Plateau, 317,620 square km, run to feed the Blue Nile.
Ruseiris water scale is the first one to be installed on the Blue Nile for monitoring data on water resources of the Blue Nile, yet the final monitoring is measured at Suba station, south to Khartoum.
According to the following table, we note the high rate of the Blue Nile runoff where the River highly rises during flooding season which starts rising when rains fall in July and reaches its rising zenith in late August and in September.
The White Nile originates from the Lakes Plateau where Lake Victoria poses the cradle in which the River was born. So, Lake Victoria and the other group of lakes contribute with 16% to the total resource of water, to which added the amount of waters coming from its tributaries in the Suds such as the basin of the Gebel and el Ghazal. Also, the Nile is fed with Subat River which runs down from the Abyssinian Plateau and to which tributaries like Okobo, Baru, Bior and Gila. However, the White Nile is 863 km long from Subat down to the Confluence in Khartoum, a distance along which there are a number of stations, the more important of which are Malakal and Khartoum.
According to table (3), we note the difference of the resources of the River between stations of Khartoum and Malakal. This difference is attributed to a number of factors such as the long course of the River, evaporation and the impact of the other seasonal tributaries.
The River Nile is formed at the confluence of the White and Blue Niles whence it runs through its new course for 3038 km to the Mediterranean. In this journey, no tributary is added to the River Nile except for Atbara River. Through this long distance, the Nile is dotted with cataracts and twisted with bends while undergoing severe runoff conditions in a barren surroundings where evaporation ratio rises up to 7,7 mm per day out of the bare water surface. This evaporation ratio, however, is considered as ever highest one if compared with ratios of other rivers. Generally, the rate of the Nile drainage is 3000 cubic meters per second which is more moderate than drainage of other rivers such as the Congo River and the Amazon River whose drainage rates reach 41000 and 18000 cubic meters per second respectively. Here, table (4) illustrates average of the Nile and its tributaries.
Water resources in the Sudan are multi-sources (rains, Nile waters, rivers, seasonal valleys and underground waters). Nevertheless, Nile waters represent the main resource where only few areas in the Sudan benefit from these waters. These areas, however, lie along the Nile strip that extends from south to north around banks of the Nile and its tributaries, yet most of the remaining area of the Sudan depends mostly on rain water and on the surface runoff of this water in addition to runoff of khors and local and passing by valleys (maps 3 and 4).
Figures concerned with the resources of the Nile and its tributaries are not accurate because they are built on old and ineffective methods for knowing the actual resource of Nile waters. To that end, these methods should be developed to identically match with the adopted global methods hereunder:
1. Water data concerning the main course of the Nile should include information on sub-rivers and any other sources impacting the water resource of the River.
2. Determination of the main climate elements impacting the water resource of the River and the possibility of forecasting these elements.
3. Draw up water policies and issue data which are built on accurate prospects.
These water resources are a group of water tributaries whose runoff is linked with rainy season and they run from east and west towards the center, besides valleys and khors of the south, all of which pose a group of tributaries feeding the main rivers levels with different rations of water (maps 3 and 4). In passing, one of the biggest and more famous seasonal tributaries is Atbara River, a seasonal water course running from the north of Abyssinian Plateau for 322 km to embrace the Nile at town of Atbara where it adds to the Nile 12 billion cubic meters in flood season. Then, the river changes to intermittent pools and a dry river in the dry period which extends for five months (January – May) and later the river reaches its flood crest in both August and September. Also, there are a group of important river tributaries of the Blue Nile, i.e. Dindir and Rahad and there are tributaries of the White Nile such as Subat, Bahr el Ghazal and Bahr al Arab. Additionally, there are some seasonal valleys and khors which run on vast areas and pose an important part of water resources in the Sudan but they are not related with drainage systems of the perennial runoff, for example khor Baraka and khor Al Gash (eastern Sudan), khor Abu Habil (central Sudan) and wadi Hawar (western Sudan). Furthermore, there are some seasonal dry valleys such as wadi Al Mugaddam and wadi Al Milk besides a number of surface hafirs in which rain waters are pooled. The number of these hafirs is 840 ones containing 26 million cubic meters but they soon get dry in the dry season.
Factors Affectingsurface water resources (problems)
Nile water agreements:
The more important agreements regarding the Nile waters and have direct impact on water resources in the Sudan are accords of 7 May, 1929 and 8 November, 1959.
7 May, 1929 agreement was two letters exchanged between the Egyptian government and the British high commissioner to Egypt. Regrettably, the five items agreement had confirmed the Egyptian dominance over the Nile water resources in all parts of the Nile basin while overlooking the need of other states for the Nile water. Instead of that, the accord only vaguely referred to item (2) of the agreement which expressed that the two agreeing parties recognized that (construction of the Sudan clearly needs a measure of the Nile water greater than the amount the country now uses. As your Majesty knows, the Egyptian government is greatly concerned with construction of the Sudan and, to that end, the government is prepared, in agreement with the British government, to increase the amount of water for the Sudan without prejudice to Egypt’s natural and historical rights of the Nile water nor to what Egypt needs for its agricultural expansion), Nile Waters Agreement, 1929 – stated by Atta al Mannan, 1999.
Perhaps, the more controversial item of the agreement is the fourth one which contained a number of arrangements of irrigation works on the Nile, particularly the item (4/B) which provided that (No works of irrigation or power generation should be carried out only with prior approval of the Egyptian government and no measures should be taken on the Nile, its tributaries or the lakes from which the Nile originates whether these resources are in the Sudan or in a country subject to the British administration in a way that these measures may reduce the amount of water due to be utilized by Egypt or make amendment for the date on which the water should reach Egypt or may decrease the Nile water level insofar as this may inflict prejudice on Egypt’s interests), 1929 Nile Waters Agreement – stated by Hatim, 1964. In the process, acquired rights of the Nile waters were divided into 48 billion cubic meters and 3.8 billion cubic meters for Egypt and Sudan respectively.
As to 8 November 1959 agreement signed in Cairo between both Egyptian and Sudanese governments, it was a supplementary to, rather than a substitute for, 1929 agreement. Explaining this, Abdu (1964) stated that (1929 agreement was prepared for utilization of the Nile waters but 1959 agreement was prepared to completely regulate and control the River and, thus, it became a supplementary to its predecessor accord). This latter agreement contained the following eight items and three supplements:
First item: present acquired rights.
Second item: projects of the control of the River Nile and distribution of their benefits among the two republics.
Third item: projects of utilization of the lost waters in the Nile Basin.
Fourth item: technical cooperation between the two republics.
Fifth item: general rules.
Sixth item: period of transition before the full benefit from the High Dam.
Seventh item: enforcement of the agreement.
Eighth item: supplement No. 1, 2 and 3.
Item (2) of article (4) of the agreement defined the share of both Sudan and Egypt as follows (the net benefit produced by the High Dam would become 22 billion cubic meters if average resource of the Nile kept equal to the medium resource of the past years of the present century, i.e. 84 billion cubic meters and, as well, if constant storage bases of water stand at its current assessment of ten billion cubic meters). However, out of this amount of water, shares of Sudan and Egypt would become 14,5 billion cubic meters and 7,5 billion cubic meters respectively. These latter shares were added to their acquired rights of which the new dividends of Sudan and Egypt would become 18,8 billion cubic meters and 55,5 cubic meters respectively.
Notwithstanding Sudanese reservations towards 1929 agreement, this accord of the Nile water is an important step on which Sudanese strategy is depending in relation to Nile waters as the Nile poses a more important source of water resources on which Sudan depends for development of agriculture, food security, generation of hydroelectric power and river navigation. As well, Sudan always aspires to growing utilization of the Nile waters, given Sudan large potentials of agricultural lands vis-à-vis impact of drought and desertification, shortage of food, overpopulation and high standard of living.
On the part of Sudan, no obvious attempts have been conducted to secure water resources outside the context of these accords in spite of the following:
Restrictions imposed by Egypt therein 1929 Nile Waters Agreement, supplemented with 1959 agreement, against the Sudan and its free movement to secure its needs of water resources.
Sudan reservation vis-à-vis 1929 agreement which was signed under the unacceptable and unjustifiable colonial dominance.
Of late, some Sudanese steps have been taken to secure Sudan water resources away from the spirit and provisions of the Nile Water Agreement as Egypt itself has done the same thing by siphoning the Nile waters out of the Nile Basin to Sinai. These waters will probably be transferred in the future to Israel through what is known as New Zamzam Project or Elisha Kali Project or Peace Waters Project which was rejected by the Sudan and some states of the Nile Basin like Ethiopia because the project is incompatible with global standards. In this context, Sudan held bilateral agreements with Ethiopia in December 1991, June 1992 and November 1992 to cooperate on Nile waters without prejudice to other nations and for the Sudan to gain membership of INDIGO Organization. Initially, these agreements helped constitute an Organization for the Blue Nile Basin and accepted the building of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam which will achieve numerous benefits for the Sudan. As well, these Sudan positions have made of it an acceptable mediator for the hanging issues between Egypt and Ethiopia in relation to the building of the Renaissance Dam . Moreover, these states have sought to establish partly organizations similar to the organization that manages Kamira River between Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi which was established in 1969. On its part, Sudan is prepared to coordinate with Egypt and accept 1959 Agreement if the two parties consider the advices submitted by the International Law Institute, 1961, and the International Law Association through Helsinki Meeting, 1966. Those advices can help achieve some basic rules of the International Law concerning rights and duties of the nations which benefit from waters of the international rivers, the important of which are fairness of distribution of waters and cooperation in promoting utilization of the river resources. stated that (the rules, recognized by societies of the international law and its conventions concerning the rights and duties of the nations benefiting from waters of international rivers, confirm the strategic concept which establishes cooperation through agreements and creates a security situation prohibiting disputes and realizing stability and reciprocal benefits). On his part, stated that (with little effort and flexibility, the parties to agreements, may be compatible with the spirit of the international law to keep up with elements of hydro-political alliance between Egypt and Sudan. This can be conducted by a joint strategic effort built on the signed bilateral agreements for acquiring a large measure of benefit from the Nile waters).
However, without conflicting with the Nile Waters Agreement, Sudan can boost up water harvesting from sources lying outside the domain of the Nile Basin, particularly from valleys and seasonal rivers in eastern and western Sudan such as Umm Dafouq Dam Project which was dug in 2001 in Riheid al Birdi, South Darfur State. Moreover, the country can enlarge utilization of underground waters to irrigate the schemes and towns lying far from the Nile, for example the Obeid waters project which was carried out in 1997 to pipe aquifers from Bara Underground Basin which stores large amounts of fresh waters. In this respect, technology of water harvesting will remain as one of the important machineries for developing seasonal water resources such as rain waters, valleys, khors and natural depressions, etc. by so doing, we can make use of these resources in the different vital utilizations by, for instance, providing drinking water for human being, animal agriculture, the different domestic usages and for enriching vegetation. Furthermore, utilization of these technologies can play an important role in protecting villages, towns and infrastructure of roads and railways as well as defending establishments and agricultural projects against torrents and floods
In any country, dams are considered as largest projects of water harvesting in relation to quantities of water pooled into them from rivers or rains or streams. In this regard, there are a number of storage containers in the Sudan for keeping up Sudan share of perennial runoff which can be employed in agricultural and industrial developments or for controlling the River runoff for the benefit of Egypt water affairs according to the Nile Waters Agreement. The said containers are represented by the following dams:
Jabal Aulia Dam:
Jabal Aulia is an embankment rather than being a dam in the literal meaning of the word. It was built in 1917 to control water runoff. Eltayod, 1999, stated that: (building an embankment on an appropriate point close to the confluence of the White and Blue Niles is considered as a corner stone for any project meant to well control the Nile water resource. Constructively, this embankment helps defend Egypt against dangers of high floods and provide the country with the stored waters during the low resource season). Therefore, Jabal Aulia Dam somewhat helps control water runoff to Egypt rather than meeting agricultural needs of the Sudan.
The sluice on the dam begins in July till water level reaches 376,5 meters and in February, when the serious period begins in Egypt, the dam waters are drawn out so that every surge of its waters can replace the waters drawn out of Aswan Dam and, thus, the dam basin will be utterly emptied from waters by May.
Responding to the pressure practiced by cotton traders and the needs of the British textile factories for long staple cotton, a barrage was built in 1904 in Sennar district. This barrage was meant to lift up water to the Gezira Canal for cultivating cotton. Lastly, Sennar Dam was inaugurated in 1925 where water level reached 420.7 cubic meters in December and the storage capacity was 781 million cubic meters. Accordingly, 7 May, 1929 Agreement determined how Sennar Dam waters could be drawn (Hurst H E 1951). However, out of provisions of this Agreement, we can note the following:
1. Waters can be drawn from Sennar Dam at the level of 417 meters, but waters under this height cannot reach the mouth of the Gezira major canal, which means that the Gezira land did not benefit but from the running waters at a level ranging between 417 – 420.7 meters. As to the remaining stored amount of waters, it would control the River runoff in a way similar to that of Jabal Aulia’s.
2. Water sluice in Sennar Dam would not be started only when drainage of the Blue Nile at Ruseiris swallow up 160 million cubic meters (it is worth noting that filling up Sennar Dam with water in this period is extremely dangerous to the capacity of the Dam as the running water would be laden with large load of hanging materials), Shami, 1972.
3. Egypt approved some amendments concerning the dates when waters released to pour into the Gezira Canal. But, according to Hurst H E 1951, Sudan has no whatever right to take such a measure which would be renewed every year with a special approval from Egypt and according to the conditions of that year.
Building of Ruseiris Dam started in 1966 for the purpose of irrigation and generation of electricity. To that end, the Ruseiris district was chosen as a suitable site for building a dam that helps Sudan benefit from its share of the Nile waters. Beneficially, the dam can store 4.5 billion cubic meters of the flood waters which can be used in electric generation and irrigation of the areas lying south of the Gezira lands which are irrigated by Sennar Dam waters.
The Ruseiris Dam had not been accomplished in one go but, principally, some programs were set for irrigation and electric generation. However, the three phase programs were linked with the process of lifting up the dam to increase its storage capacity insofar as to reach 448 cubic meters of waters.
There a number of problems concerning water storage and electric generation in Ruseiris, particularly when waters rate gets low or high. Anyway, shortage of waters occurs in April, May and June when stored waters in the Dam Lake get less. For this reason, the Dam management determines the daily drainage amount of the Dam in order that waters remain sustainable till the end of summer months. Helpfully, this managing process helps preserve the vital gains along the River course as electricity generating turbines become as fewer as the amount of water allowed to be drained in one day. Also, the amount of waters used in agriculture becomes less but this problem will be resolved when lifting up of the Dam is completed. On this occasion, , said (the project of lifting the Ruseiris Dam whose executive unit was formed in 1990, aimed at boosting the storage capacity up to 7 billion cubic meters of waters. At that time, this project had been accompanied with sub-projects, i.e. digging of both canals of Kenana and Rahad for cultivating million acres in the former and adding 500,000 acres to the latter). As regards the problems related to increasing of waters rate, they take place in July, August and September when the Blue Nile resource of water, thanks to rains, increases to upwards of 500 million cubic meters per day. So, one of the problems is that the vehement current of the Nile runs down loaded with avalanche of clay, thatch and grasses and that all sluice gates will be opened to prohibit sedimentation of clay in the Dam lake. Here, difference of water height on the two sides of the Dam diminishes and this, in turn, reduces generation of electric energy down to 50%. Also, irrigation channels will be affected by the large quantities of clay and other planktons that cover and incapacitate these channels.
Khasm al Qirba Dam:
Khasm al Qirba Dam was built on Atbara River to store 2 billion cubic meters of water for irrigating the Butana land and Khasm al Qirba agricultural scheme and producing electricity. However, this project was faced with a number of problems such as the low storage capacity due to the great burden of suspended materials carried by Atbara River, besides the low generation of electric energy due to the high oscillation in the seasonal runoff of the river.
Building of this Dam had been under consideration since 1942 when it was planned for to be one of the Nile control projects and constructed for water storage on a suitable site between Halfa and Khartoum. To that end, geological studies defined in 1943 two proper locations for building the Dam, the first of which lies at a distance of 27 km in front of Halfa and the second one at a distance of 30 km in front of Merowe. At last, it was opted for the latter site for the following three reasons:
Nature of solid and suitable rocks in the riverbed.
Sufficient capacity for water storage in the River valley.
Small number of population between Merowe and Abu Hamad, a fact which makes compensations for lands smaller.
So, it was planned for the dam to store as a high level as 292 cubic meters to restore 9 billion cubic meters. After all, on the construction of the High Dam in Egypt, the idea of building this dam had been thrust aside till 2002. Capitalizing on the Sudan share of the Nile waters, the government of the Sudan inaugurated Merowe Dam execution unit on 13, December, 2003 when building of the Dam was started for production of electric power and irrigation of agricultural schemes. So, the Dam whose capacity reached 9.2 billion cubic meters was built with joint financing with some Arab states. Fairly, building of Merowe Dam is a serious step taken by the government of the Sudan to actually cash in on the water resources of the Dam.
However, the idea of building Merowe Dam is a relatively new experience whose final outcomes haven’t yet materialized because the Dam-related projects haven’t been completed. Nevertheless, according to the Project goals, the Dam can be considered an important Sudanese incident for benefiting from water resources. Perhaps, this experience is attributed to the deep studies which accompanied the construction of the Dam while these very studies developing the way many relevant official and popular sectors think towards water resources. One of the thoughts these studies confirmed is the hypothesis of execution of such gigantic projects with moderate effort and diplomacy. As well, the studies have raised public sensitization concerning the importance of water resources through the medium of issuances and publications, i.e. Merowe Dam Journal which is an important information tribune for water resources issues.
Underground waters spread out across more than 50% of Sudan area where their minimum reserve is estimated to be about 15.2 billion cubic meters and maximum reserve is 39.755 billion cubic meters. However, 28% of this reserve is naturally stored in the Nuba Basin and 20% in Umm Ruwaba Basin in North Kordofan State.
There are a number of geological formations carrying underground waters in the Sudan with different proportions which are:
A. Nubian sandstone Formations:
Rodis, 1963, stated that Nubian sandstone rocks are of continental origin whose formation is attributed to the prevailing of old geological seas over basement complex districts. This dominance of geological seas had accumulated mammoth layers of sediments on surfaces of those rocks and inside depressions. When those sea waters receded, the rocks had been affected by successive cycles of erosion, transference and sedimentation which represented important geological formations that contain waters in the Sudan. However, the nature of these geological formations besides their extension through vast areas in the Sudan made waters abundant inside them. Bade, 1990, stated that (underground water level in the Nubian sandstone normally ranges between 300 – 400 feet underground as production of drinkable waters of a single underground well ranges between 1000 – 4000 gallons per hour).
B. Umm Ruwaba Formations:
Rodis, 1963, stated that these deposits are of sea origins whose formation dates back to late Paleocene Epoch and early Pleistocene Epoch when waves of earthquakes had swept through the Sudan. Those earthquakes caused fractures that, on their part, had formed some depressions such as those of Umm Ruwaba, Bara and Babanusa. Later, in early Pleistocene, a continental climate had prevailed over the Sudan and, consequently, huge amounts of torrents nebula in these depressions and shallow lakes had accumulated to form Umm Ruwaba deposits. Successively, these latter deposits had been covered by the Nubian sandstone rocks which represent an important source of underground waters. Abu ‘Arrish, 1976, said that (Though limited, Umm Ruwaba formations contain larger amounts of high quality underground waters than Nubian sandstone rocks do. Here, production of a single well of water ranges between 1600 – 2000 gallons per hour).
C. Basement complex:
Basement complex are of small importance for underground waters due to their solidity and non-porosity. So, waters are only available in the cracks, fractures and joints of these basement complexes where the production of a single well of water ranges between 200 – 300 gallons per hour.
• Underground waters are distributed in the underground basins as follows:
1. The Nubian sedimentary basin in north west of Sudan with stock of water equaling (3.5 billion cubic meters).
2. Umm Ruwaba formations basin in south central Sudan with stock of water equaling (22 billion cubic meters).
3. Basement complex formations concentrated in east, west central and south west of the country represent a poor underground basin of no significance.
There is a huge amount of water stock under surface layers of Sudan earth, and it is distributed as follows:
1. Gezira with stock of 3.8 billion cubic meters.
2. Clay deposits layers with stock equaling a billion cubic meters.
• Needs of current and expected water resources in the Sudan:
Table (5) refers to the actual amount of water resources according to Sudan share provided for by 1959 Nile Waters Agreement which is estimated at 22.6 billion cubic meters. Out of this share, there is 18.8 billion cubic meters from surface waters, 3.3 cubic meters from rain waters running in seasonal valleys and khors and 5.0 from aquifers
However, on assessment of population number, 1990 census, with 25 million, we find that available water resources do not meet the current requirements. Even if we use the UN water stability standard, we find that the individual allowance of water resources gets to 892 cubic meters per annum, i.e. with deficiency of 108 cubic meters per annum in relation to water stability point. In this regards, Dikarb, 1976, said that (the United Nations Environment Program estimated that 1000 cubic meters of water is a reasonable allowance for the individual in the year).
On its part, the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development, 1999, stated that water resources in the Sudan will remain as they are and they will probably be reduced owing to the growing number of population and the high standard of living). The Organization attributed this to the nature of the Nile Waters Agreements, the high fluctuation in rain amounts, difficulty in executing huge projects for boosting surface waters resource, for instance Jonglei Canal Project, and the poor projects of water harvesting. Relatively, when population number gets to 55 million people, water requirements reach 34.4 billion cubic meters. Therefore, according to water stability measure, this difference will cause a water resources gap of 20.7 billion cubic meters. In such a situation, water resources in the Sudan can be put among the other natural resources which suffer from deterioration. Here, deterioration means the decline of resources productivity to a lowest level, or of natural potentials of environment, or decline of productive capability of resources
• Available substitutes to improve the situation of the current water resources:
1. Cooperate with the Nile Basin states (those not involved in the Nile Waters Agreement), to establish projects for regulating and storing the Nile waters such as the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam which will achieve, according to confirmation of initial studies, a number of water gains for the Sudan. In this regard, Al Mulatham, 2010, stated that (the Renaissance Dam is a comparatively modern project whose features are not now clear-cut. Nevertheless, initial studies promise a number of benefits Sudan may acquire of this project, the more prominent of which are the following:
Control of the Blue Nile runoff
Arrival of waters down to Sudan in the appropriate period needful for irrigation of agricultural schemes
Supplying the Ruseiris Dam with a permanent share of waters to sustain electric generation
Secure Sudan against flood hazards
2. Economize of the available water resources.
3. Capacitate, maintain and develop water transmission and distribution networks.
4. Capacitate field irrigation.
5. Develop systems of irrigation by spraying and by dripping.
6. Produce new short-lived, productive and less-water consuming species of crops.
7. Develop new strategy for harvesting rain waters away from the Nile Basin, given that rain waters pose the more prevalent resource in the areas lying far from the Nile and in urgent need of waters. And as technologies of waters harvesting are more suitable for rain nature in the Sudan (here rains fall seasonally in swift showers and with quick surface runoff), these waters can be easily collected with small cost and low technology. Moreover, the traditional Sudanese experience in water harvesting should be considered, given that Sudanese people have for long practiced numerous systems and manners for harvesting waters from rains, valleys and khors. However, these traditional methods vary according to water sources as shown in the following:
a) Flood Receding Cultivation.
b) Traditional hafirs: low depressions dug with specific dimensions in clay lands and are mostly used for water drinking. These hafirs are of limited areas and relatively small and they largely scatter in basement complex districts which lack underground waters.
c) Baobab tree (its alias tebeldi tree): Kordofan region is a home of this tree. It is marked with a huge truck with a cavity in which water is kept to be used up in dry season. The amount of the stored water varies according to the size of the tree which ranges between 3 – 5 cubic meters.
d) Water regulators and transformative channels: an advanced method of spreading out running waters of khors and valleys. Notably, this technology has been used in a number of areas of the big surface runoff
• Steps needed to be carried out for controlling the available water resources in the Sudan:
Types of regional cycling of the Nile waters should be utilized, developed and linked with hydrological types currently used in management of the River. Furthermore, new machineries should be created and Sudanese popular tradition in forecasting drought and lack of rain should be considered.
2. Adaptation (in case of increase and decrease of water resource):
Numerous sources of waters and their scattered distribution across vast areas in the Sudan show that there is an obvious shortcoming in the systems of water resources management. But impacts of this flaw, if any, have been deepened by mismanagement. Therefore, methods of the available water resources should be improved and water sources need to be boosted up through the following:
Draw up special policies for additional storage basins in order to cash in on the Sudan share of the Nile waters.
Exploit the nature and topography of the Sudan, for instance to make use of valleys runoff systems and seasonal rivers running from east and west and forming a typical irrigation network. Likely, these rivers can be used of for covering with water all areas lying away from sources of perennial runoff.
Set alternatives for lack of waters needed for agricultural requirements, the main consumer of waters.
Reconsider operating the irrigation establishment by using modern data.
Exploit high rain rates in feeding dams, aquifers and intensification of agricultural production.
3. Confrontation (challenges):
Controlling water resources entails confronting disasters related with shortage of water. In so doing, the following should be done:
Develop machineries of prediction, preparedness, disaster management and staving off the effects of disasters, particularly drought disaster.
Enhance the culture of voluntary action.
Encourage and promote the formation of national voluntary organizations.
4. Education and sensitization:
Qualification of researchers in different fields should be focused on in a way that they can study and improve methods of water resources management. However, these methods are more needful, given that Ministries and administrative units dealing with water resources are multiple and lack clear coordination as they work with semi-independent action machineries. For instance, action programs and machineries of the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources are dissimilar to the programs of the National Corporation for Town Waters as well as they are unlike those of Rural Water Corporation. Additionally, they are no clear coordination between these institutions, the many intersections between them notwithstanding. Unluckily, the same thing applies to Dams and Reservoirs Management.
In the same context, educational and training programs on concepts of natural resources management should be started and carried out for non-specialists. In fact, these non-specialists are principal beneficiaries and users of these resources and they mostly practice these businesses without clear vision for sustainability as these natural resources are viewed as a mere common property which can be addressed when needed. Also, to that end, culture of utilization of resources should be introduced in all official and popular transactions and in educational curricula of all school grades, because integrated communal sensitization is an optimum road map leading out of this tunnel.
Water resources in the Sudan play important multiple roles as they represent economic, political, and diplomatic and security resource. For this reason, this resource of necessary fresh waters needs to be secured for achieving comprehensive development for all districts of the Sudan in a way that may, in turn, realize food and healthy security. Necessarily, the security of this urgent resource aims at sustaining resources for this generation and generations to come and accomplishing strategic depth between Sudan and its Afro-Arab depth, given that the country enjoys multi-sources of water resources as well as it enjoys more opportunities of resolutions than the countries which depend on a single source of water resources. Moreover, Sudan is approaching a civic renaissance in several agricultural, pastoral and urban fields that render water resources as one of more important priorities for substantiating this renaissance on the ground.
The following are the points included in the proposal of the national strategy for preservation of environment in the framework of sustainability of resources. Luckily, these points, stated by Al, may help development planners and decision makers:
1. Conserve fresh, underground and rain water resources in stable, sustained and improved ways.
2. Develop the country share of surface water sources through joint projects with the states of the Nile Basin in a framework of an integrated environmental management.
3. Protect water sources of both perennial and seasonal runoff against pollution and consumption, and protect environmental domains, forests and grazing lands.
4. Improve methods of quantitative identifications for surface, underground and rain water resources, besides identifications of the kind, distribution and quality of these resources.
5. Improve the methods of utilization of water resources.
6. Develop national concepts concerning town waters managements in a way complying with modern technologies and actual needs of drinking water.
7. Manage underground water resources in a way makes them sustained, and develop an integrated method for feeding underground reservoirs from rain waters to a level equaling the amount of Sudan share of the Nile waters.
8. Allot a percentage of the total resources of the state to be expended on scientific researches concerning development of water resources.
9. Set a national integrated program for developing irrigation methods, particularly in fields of rain agriculture, forests and grazing lands.
10. Issue executive regulations for environment law, activate the National Council for Waters to conserve water surroundings and activate monitoring role.
11. State specifications and conditions regarding tackling the lost waters as a result of industrialization.
12. Establish the National Network to monitor environmental pollutants of water sources.
13. Enhance procedures concerning reduction of intensified usage of pesticides, fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals and stop processes of spraying by crop duster planes.
14. Set standard specifications which determine the allowable maximum amount for draining the surface fresh waters for sewage and industrial drainage.
15. Develop traditional methods of water harvesting in the different areas of the Sudan with rehabilitation and maintenance of these methods besides boosting their storage capacity.
16. Raise awareness of inhabitants to safeguard vegetation against creeping of sandy hills and to reduce the proportion of the swift surface runoff.
17. Make farmers, in areas of rainfed agriculture, participate in water harvesting projects and involved in maintenance and conservation of these projects.
18. Support official and popular parties and organizations working in thirst combat, and encourage the experience of the private sector concerning investing and constructing waters containers, particularly for villages and furqans.
19. Be concerned with meteorological measurements regarding climatic elements such as rains, temperature, humidity and winds along with their fluctuations. To that end, a wide network of air monitoring stations should be built, early warning systems developed and drought events forecasted.
20. Observe climatic idiosyncrasies of the dry areas which are subject to drought impact by improving their water situation and seriously supplying them with water resources from the sustained sources in a way similar to the Egyptian experience which supplies Sinai district from Nile waters through pipes. Likewise, Sudanese dry areas can be supplied with water by any other method suiting the local environment nature.
21. Improve the types of exploitation of land and seriously, yet effectively, determine a domain for irrigated agriculture in a way suiting soil components and abundance of irrigation waters. Similarly, encroaching of housing areas on irrigated agriculture areas should be stopped.
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