Khartoum, Dec. 14 (SUNA) - Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, Engineer Kamal Ali Mohamed, has affirmed the importance of the Workshop on Water Issues and its Relation with Health, which is now in session in Khartoum, saying that it aims at concentrating on the future vision of drinking water and sanitation. Addressing the Workshop at the premises of the Council of Ministers Monday, the minister pointed out to what has been achieved since 1999, included reaching high rates in water provision from 29% to 70% in the year 2008 In the rural areas and to 58% in urban areas, adding that the number of the deep wells has been increased by 250% and that the number of groundwater wells increased to 5,700 and the increase of pump-wells from 230 to 23,000 wells. The minister explained that the number of dams increased from 31 to 122 and the number of Hafirs (ground reservoirs) increased from 304 to 1560 and that the water filters increased from 33 to 310. The Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources referred to the implementation of new drinking water projects in Sudan and the rehabilitation of water services institutions in the south. Engineer Mohamed referred to the great achievements in the field of sanitation in villages and schools at various Sudanese towns in collaboration with the UNICEF. He explained that meeting of the African Ministers of Water Resources, held in Johannesburg, South Africa, last November, has praised Sudan's achievements in the water programmes in the framework of the Millennium Goals, saying that Sudan was accorded a key African award on hygiene and sanitation. With regard to health aspects, the minister explained that laboratories have been established to examine and to analysis water quality, calling for establishing such laboratories all over the Sudan in order to guarantee the water health standards. He called for strict implementation of the laws on environment health to prevent contamination of water and to avert outbreaks of waterborne diseases. He also called wastewater treatment, including sewage, industrial and agricultural wastewater, which is one of the largest water pollutants, in addition to activating the laws of groundwater protection from pollution and depletion. Meanwhile, Minister of the Ministry of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Costa Manyebi stressed the importance of drinking water and sanitation, which are on the top of the world's priorities, highlighting the conditions of drinking water in some areas in Sudan. He called for taking all the health measures to provide clean healthy drinking water in Sudan.