The Sudanese proverb raises the question: Does the fool drown in his search for water or is he saved by it? And who is, in fact, this fool? Given the wasteful and unfair dealings of mankind with this dwindling resource – aren’t we all? While doing research on water, The Niles correspondents in South Sudan and Sudan met fishermen who deal carefully with the water that nourishes them and business people who exploit the resource without restraint. They report on conflicts around water but also on exemplary projects where water is shared peacefully. In short, the fool is still swimming, but for how long?
Baraka Tekeze (Setit) Wadi Odib Gash (Mahreb) Abara Rahad Nil e Wadi el Milk White Nile Dinder States of flux With the Nile River forming the liquid backbone, water points are crucial, and conflictive, across Sudan and South Sudan. NORTHERN 2 nd Dal Kajbar 3 rd 4 th Merowe Shereik RIVER NILE 5 th 6 th Khartoum KHARTOUM Jebel Aulia NORTH KORDOFAN AL GEZIRA Sennar RED SEA KASSALA Khashm El Girba Upper Atbara & Setit GEDAREF Port Sudan Wadi Howar NORTH DARFUR WEST DARFUR Red Sea SUDAN theniles6_20151123.indd 8 2015/11/23 2:13 PM
The Niles 9 Sennar Rahad Dinder Blue Nile Ed Damazin White Nile Ad ar Sudd swamp Sobat swamp Bahr el Zaraf Bahr el Ghazal Sobat Jonglei Canal Bahr El Jabal Gal Baro Pibor Bahr El Jabal Kinyeti Maridi Juba JUBEK Lologo Bedden YEI RIVER Lakki Kinyeti IMATONG Jur Pongo Wau Sue WHITE NILE SENNAR SOUTH KORDOFAN BLUE NILE Shukoli Fula Sue Lol CENTRAL DARFUR Bahr al Arab SOUTH DARFUR LOL SOUTH SUDAN Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System (NSAS) state flood drought lake swamp dam planned / under construction abandoned plan Nile cataract cholera outbreaks water conflicts river intermittent river 100 scale: 1:5,000,000 km 50 EAST DARFUR AWEIL EAST AWEIL WAU GBUDWE ABYEI TWIC GOGRIAL RUWENG WESTERN NILE EASTERN NILE TONJ NORTHERN LIECH SOUTHERN LIECH WESTERN BIEH EASTERN BIEH LATJOOR GOK WESTERN LAKES EASTERN LAKES JONGLEI BOMA TEREKEKA AMADI MARIDI NAMORUNYANG Sudan and South Sudan are facing the scourge of desertification, especially in western Sudan and Greater Bahr El Ghazal. This trend fuels conflicts over water. Access to drinking water for people and livestock has become increasingly contentious across swathes of both countries. In addition, many Sudanese and South Sudanese have noted strange developments in the seasonal weather conditions. Meteorologists predict a sharp climb in temperatures for the coming decades, meaning intensified water disputes are likely in the future. These temperature changes are as well expected to affect the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System (NSAS), which underlies the countries of Chad, Egypt, Libya and Sudan. The NSAS is the world’s largest ‘fossil’ water aquifer system. This gigantic reservoir faces heavy demands from agriculture and for drinking water, and the amount drawn out could double in the next 50–100 years. theniles6_20151123.indd 9 2015/11/23 2:13 PM