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Water Use in Sudan

Water Use in Sudan
Photo 1: Gezira irrigation scheme, Gezira , Sudan ( Source: Water, Land and Ecosystems, Flicker)

Current Water Use in Sudan by Sector

There are no official data on the total water use by sector or region, and data collected by international institutions and United Nations’ (UN) agencies are scant. Agriculture is the main consumer, although cultivated areas have shrunk significantly. For example, only a seventh of the area of the Gezira Scheme is currently being farmed, whereas the Blue Nile and the White Nile Schemes have been dismantled (Figure 1 and Table 1).

Figure 1: Water Sectors’ Use from Different Resources[1]

The Nile

  • Domestic
  • Livestock
  • Others
  • Agriculture

Non Nile

  • Domestic
  • Livestock
  • Agriculture

Groundwater

  • Domestic
  • Livestock
  • Others
  • Agriculture

Table 1: Water Demand Projection to 2027 (BCM)[2]

YearIrrigationAnimals & othersDomestic SupplyTotal
201027.13.91.132.1
202032.65.11.9 39.6
202540.3 5.3 2.5 48.0
202742.5 7.32.8 52.6

Agricultural Water Use and Irrigation Development

The arable area in Sudan is nearly 120 million feddans. The irrigated area is less than 2 million feddans, whereas the rain-fed area is about 35 million feddans. The large agricultural schemes are almost all located in the central clay plains. Gezira, Suki and Rahad are the largest. Five major sugar estates are irrigated by the Nile waters. Sugarcane is more water intensive than cotton and sorghum. From 2011 to date, the use of groundwater has increased greatly to produce fodder crops for export.

[1] Elamin, A.W.M., 2013, ‘Water Resources in Sudan’, Available at : https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275016737_Water_Resources_in_Sudan, accessed [19/8/2017].
[2] Ministry of Electricity and Dams, 2012, Dams Implementation Unit. Available at : http://www.oicvet.org/Presentations/Water_Management_Symposium/Sudan/Sudan.pdf, accessed [19/8/2017].