THE WATER CRISIS IN SUDAN CONTINUES TO GROW
Eric Reeves | July 3, 2015 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Lg
A grim image of how the water shortage affects Darfuris
• Khartoum governor relieves general director of water corporation | Sudan Tribune, June 22, 2015 | Khartoum
The director general of Khartoum State Water Corporation has been relieved of his post following recent protests over water cuts in various parts of the Sudanese capital. Water supply has been recently disrupted in large parts of the state leading to several protests the latest being in Al-Fitaihab and Abu Si’id neighbourhoods in Khartoum twin city of Omdurman. Also, Halfayat al-Molok neighbourhood in Khartoum North saw similar protests last week. The newly appointed governor of Khartoum state, Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein, issued on Sunday a decision replacing the KSWC director general, Mahgoub Mohamed Suleiman, by Khaled Ali Khaled according to a recommendation submitted by the minister of infrastructure and transportation… Hussein declared short and long-term plans to achieve a radical solution for the water problems in the state within two years.
[Hussein, former Minister of Defense and Minister of the Interior, is a brutish thug, with no intelligence and no understanding of economics. His “plans” are merely rhetorical efforts to diminish growing anger at the water shortages—ER]
The KSWC has more than once called for increasing water rates due to high operating costs. A source within Khartoum state disclosed in June 2014 that several proposals were made to raise the water rate by 33% (20 pounds SDG) for the third degree consumers, 40% (35 pounds) for the second-degree consumers and 33% (60 pounds) for the first-degree consumers.
[This gets to the heart of the delusion that still guides the regime’s response to the ongoing economic implosion, which is characterized inter alia by extremely high inflation. “Operating costs” are certainly growing rapidly at the KSWC, and because many of the factors producing increased costs—particularly equipment, parts, and transport materials—are beyond control, they will continue to rise. This makes most repairs of a decaying water distribution system prohibitively expensive—and still the request is for a 33 – 40 percent increase in rates. If allowed, this will add significantly to the inflation experienced by lower-incomes citizens; if denied, the entire system will continue what appears to be a relentless deterioration. Inflation has taken deep hold in the economy, but the regime has no wish or ability to confront the problem—ER]
• Water crisis demonstrators block road in Khartoum | June 26, 2015 | Khartoum
Protests against the water supply disruptions in the Sudanese capital continue. A group of women from two southern neighbourhoods managed to block the main road leading to the centre of Khartoum, from Thursday morning until the afternoon. The women from El Azhari and El Salama positioned themselves in front of the vehicles, and chanted anti-government slogans, calling for the resumption of the water services. Traffic was jammed from 8am to 1pm. Police forces prevented people from taking photos. Yousef Hussein, a leader in the Sudanese Communist Party, criticised the way the state treats the field of services, especially the water services. “The government lets its citizens pay for expensive water that they should have received in a normal way,” he stressed. “The price of a barrel of water in remote neighbourhoods has risen to 100 Sudanese pounds.” Khartoum state announced the allocation of SDG9.5 million ($1.57 million) to solve the potable water crisis in the city on Thursday.
[The notion that US$1.57 million will do anything to address the larger problems revealed by the current widespread water crisis is ludicrous, and revealing of the regime’s inability to confront the problems it faces in a serious way. This sum of money is a mere sop to increasingly angry demonstrators—ER]
• Water supply decreased by more than half in North Darfur city | June 18, 2015 | El Fasher
The director of the North Darfur water management announced that the daily water supply to El Fasher city has decreased by more than half. Engineer Noureldin Adam said that the supply reaches 17,000 cubic metres, instead of the required quantity of 39,000 cubic metres per day. He attributed the decrease to the depletion of the water from the Golo reservoir, and the fluctuation of the electricity supply. The North Darfur capital currently witnesses an acute crisis of drinking water, where the price of a barrel of water in some peripheral districts has amounted to SDG30 ($5). One week ago, the price was $3.40 in the less remote districts.
In far too many locations in Darfur, and in Sudan generally, there is not enough water for human consumption; many animals die of dehydration.
• South Darfur water crisis: Displaced queue for drinking water | June 21, 2015 | Girdeia, South Darfur
One of the affected camps residents informed Radio Dabanga that this crisis started last April and is still ongoing. He appealed to the local and state authorities, and the organisations working in the water field, to speed up solving their problem. Throughout Darfur and Sudan, crises of drinking water have emerged in the past weeks. Several areas in the capital of South Darfur, Nyala, have been without water owing to a number of broken pumps since mid-May. The water supply to El Fasher city, North Darfur, has decreased by more than half of the usual, the water management announced this week. Khartoum has also witnessed water outages, in one case leading to a street protest in El Kalakla Sanga’at district. Because of the shortages, the prices of barrels of water in these cities have risen sharply.
[Crises in water supplies throughout Sudan have increased noticeably in the past year—a reflection of years of neglect of critical infrastructure by the regime – ER]