Sudan: The case for drought preparedness - Report of the UNEP mission to review water resource management at IDP camps and host communities in Darfur, Feb - Mar 2008



This report summarises the findings of a review of water resource management in IDP camps and host communities in Darfur undertaken by UNEP in February and March 2008. It has been subject to consultation at meetings with the Water Sector in Nyala, El Fasher, and Khartoum and the draft report was widely reviewed within the Darfur water sector by UNICEF, WES and NGOs implementing programmes in the areas covered in the report. The work builds on the Tearfund report "Darfur: water supply in a vulnerable environment" and it assesses progress made since that report.

This report has assessed information relating to IDP camps and host communities but stresses that an integrated approach addressing water needs for all users in Darfur is needed. IDP camps are generally located adjacent to host communities; taken together these are referred to as "communities" in this report. Where IDP camps are on the edge of large cities the word camps is retained. Darfur's large cities have been subject to particularly rapid population expansion and drought risks need to be addressed with their surrounding areas, camps and settlements as a whole.

Good progress has been made on groundwater monitoring at IDP camps and communities in 2007-8. Some 49 ground water level loggers have been installed and at least a further 15 wells are monitored with manual dipping. This work has been led by UNICEF, GWWD, WES and Oxfam. UNEP welcomes the recommendations made in UNICEF's report ""Darfur's IDPs Groundwater Resources: capacities, depletion risks and contingency planning" which builds on data collected from groundwater monitors and other sources.

The report confirms the assessment that the principal risk associated with groundwater depletion in Darfur is the risk of acute depletion at camps and communities that are vulnerable to the impact of a year of low rainfall. The vulnerability of communities is a function of the water demand (population and water use), local geological conditions, rainfall andsurface water flow. Camps on Basement Complex geology have little capacity for groundwater storage so the groundwater supplies are dependent on annual recharge from a nearby wadi. If there is a good hydraulic connection with the wadi and the wadi has a good volume of alluvial storage then the water resources in the camp are likely to be resilient to a year of low rains (Mornei would be a camp in this category). If however, the camp is not connected to a wadi (such as Dereig or Otash) then the camp is dependent on the little storage available in the fractures and weathered zones of the Basement Complex beneath the camp alone and so would be vulnerable to groundwater depletion in a year of low rains. Between these extremes are a range of camps where the extent of connectivity and recharge from wadis to the aquifers beneath the camps is partial and not well known. The focus of the groundwater monitoring programme has been to identify these hydraulic connections that indicate the recharge mechanism for the aquifers at these camps, and therefore indicate the level of vulnerability to groundwater depletion in a year of low rains.

The following camps and communities are identified as potentially vulnerable to groundwater depletion. These camps should be priorities for effort on improved water resource management:

North Darfur: Abu Shouk, Al Salaam, Kebkabiya Town, Kutum Rural, Tawila Town, Kutum Town, Saraf Omra Town, Kassab, Zamzam, Mellit.

South Darfur: Otash, Dereig, Kalma, Kass Town, East Jebal Marra, Muhajirya - South Camp, Beleil.

West Darfur: Kereinik, Seleah, Kulbus, Abu Surug, Umm Dukhun, Golo AU.

The changes in this list since the Tearfund report are the addition of Zamzam and Mellit. This list represents a screening of camps made from desk reviews and consultations with hydrogeologists working in Darfur. The list is a live document and should be developed as more information becomes available.