Water scarcity is a concept that has been defined differently in different disciplines. In simpler terms however, water shortage refers to a scenario where a certain population lacks access to adequate clean water (Smith, 2010). Defined in this manner, clean water is fundamental to this discussion. This is because a population with adequate water can be said to experience water shortage, if the water in question is not safe for human consumption.
The concept has gained much importance, at least to economists. In this regard, water scarcity has been regarded as an important indicator for measuring poverty (Ryle, 2011). In fact, economists use the term water poverty to imply water scarcity. Empirical literature by the United Nations World Water Development Report 2 suggests that water scarcity is mainly caused by mismanagement, environmental changes, human activities and limited resources. The report notes that the world has sufficient water fresh water but due to the above mentioned factors, approximately a fifth of the world’s population continues to experience water shortage.
The problem of water scarcity is multifaceted (Pearce, 2006. This implies that if nothing is done to address the problem, severe consequences will be felt by the world’s population. Such consequences include: outbreak of chronic diseases such as cholera and skin diseases, due to poor sanitation. Ignoring the current water shortage problem will make water scarcer and expensive, hence higher cost of living. From advanced analysis, water sufficiency is regarded as a condition precedent to economic development, implying that if nothing is done to cure the problem; countries will not record impressive growth.
Water Shortage in Sudan.
Sudan is among African countries that continue to experience acute water shortage. In this regard, empirical literatures suggest that 80% of the Sudanese population lack access to adequate sanitation. More over about half of the population don’t have access to sources of clean water. The severity of water shortage in Sudan may be viewed from the fact that 10% of children die before attaining the age of one year, due to water related diseases. Moreover, the country continues to experience slowed economic productivity, since children and women spend most of their time gathering water. This results to what economists refer to as wasted man hours. It is also estimated that more than 25% of the Sudan population walk for 30 minutes to water sources, implying that water is a scarce commodity in the country.
Data from the World Health Organization depicts that Sudanese population faces a higher risk of contracting water borne diseases. For instance, in the year 2006, more than 500 people died of diarrhea, during the first half of the year. In the same period, the Darfur region reported 4000 cases of hepatitis E, which results from unclean water.
Causes of Water Shortage in Sudan.
Many factors have contributed to water scarcity and water stress in Sudan. First, geography is partly to blame for this problem (Brown & Earth Policy Institute, 2004). This is because Sudan receives little rainfall, given that it is located in a hot dry land. From a simple level of analysis, rain water contributes significantly to the water stock of any country in that other sources of water viz. ground water, are replenished from rain water. Geography also contributes to water scarcity in that river Nile is a major water source for this country. However, the Sudan’s geographical terrain hinders most people from accessing the river.
Besides, water shortage in Sudan may be attributed to political instability (McDonald & Jehl, 2003). In this regard, thousands of people have been evicted from their homes and they now live in refugee camps. Harnessing water in these places is extremely difficult. Moreover, there has emerged a water conflict between Arab and non-Arab herders. This continues to hinder many people’s access to water.
Solutions to Water Shortage in Sudan.
There are many approaches that can be adopted to cure the water crisis problem in Sudan. However, water governance is perhaps the most amicable solution. Though water is scarce in Sudan, it is poorly managed. It is imperative to note that in actual sense, the water shortage situation in Sudan is exaggerated by poor governance. Water authorities in this country are characterized by bribes and corruption and because these two are forms of cost, water remains expensive.
Moreover, the Sudanese government should intervene in the market, so as to reduce the price of water storage facilities. It has been recorded that water tanks in Sudan are highly taxed, thereby making them prohibitively expensive. In this regard, only few households can afford such tanks. The intervention would be in form of reducing import duties and other form of taxes levied on the tanks. This move will be efficient in harnessing rain water which currently goes into waste as runoff.