Tackling Water Problem in South Sudan

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Donald Kaberuka, president, AfDB

ELEVEN small and medium-size towns in South Sudan are to benefit from a grant approved by the African Development Bank, AfDB, for an assessment study of a water supply programme in their area. The $5.4 million grant will benefit some 170,000 people living in those 11 towns. The low levels of access to safe and potable water and adequate sanitation coupled with poor hygiene awareness has been the principal cause of water-related diseases such as diarrhea, cholera and guinea worm in the country.

Despite the availability of surface and ground water resources in South Sudan, two out of three people in the country do not have access to safe and potable water services whereas eight out of 10 people do not have access to adequate sanitation. The grant will finance the feasibility study and detailed designs for water supply and sanitation infrastructural facilities in the identified towns. In order to address the sustainability of the planned infrastructure and operations, a framework for capacity building of the sector’s institutions within the study area will be developed. Based on an integrated approach, the study will address the challenges to sustainable provision of water supply and sanitation services in a holistic manner.

The study will cover aspects of water resources management, knowledge management and capacity building among local institutions as well as facilities for monitoring and evaluation. It is anticipated to be concluded in September 2015 and the knowledge generated will enrich the AfDB’s continued learning process, and its support to African countries, especially in fragile states. The 11 towns selected for the study are Fangak, Mbili, Jikou, Leer, Ayod, Gokmachar, Tonj, Mundri, Cueibet, Terekeka and Kapoeta.

In view of the impact of lack of access to water, the South Sudan Government has labelled the water supply and sanitation sector as an extremely high priority and a key entry point to its development objectives. The water sector is therefore one of the top six expenditure priorities as articulated in all the government’s key strategy documents.

— Nov. 11, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

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