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Nile Solutions

Page history last edited by mulforel@dukes.jmu.edu 12 years, 1 month ago

A brief summary of the solution to be implemented can be seen below in Table 1, in which the solution to achieve the goals and objectives are displayed. The solution to the impaired health and water scarcity problem lies in the ability to educate the public, change agricultural practices on a small and large scale, improve sanitation with different technologies, improve international relations (re-negotiate treaties), use legislation and remediation technologies to reduce pollution levels, and developing a long-lasting water infrastructure in Sudan. A comprehensive solution was established by analyzing and developing specific objectives for environmental, social, and political goals for the problem in Sudan.


For further information pertaining to each individual solution, click the solution's link (colored in blue) at the top of Table 1, or continue to read the text beneath Table 1.


Short term solutions (within 5 years):


Table 1. Brief overview of the different components of the solution for the health and water scarcity problem in the Sudan along the Nile River.




Crop rotation  Sanitation: Eco-Sanitation Flush Toilet Sanitation: Water purification technologies Renegotiate Treaties  Reduce Pollution Levels Improve Water Infrastructure

→ Increase the number of people volunteering in the Peace Corps in the region of Sudan


→ Create a volunteer program from the Peace Corps in Egypt. 


Implement legislation requiring crop rotation


Educate small scale/subsistence farmers about crop rotation


→ Educate citizens of Sudan on significance of use. 


→ Implement the technology in areas where populations congregate.

→  Educate citizens of Sudan on significance of use. 


→ Implement the most effective of these technologies to citizens based on use and area. 

 Revise current treaties dealing with yearly water allocation for Sudan and Egypt. 



→ In-situ bioremediation to remove excess nutrients


→ Create legislation to prevent the dumping of untreated water into the river


Legislation to prevent the creation of new dams 

Create small scale wastewater treatment facilities in the six most densely populated regions


Implement rainwater capturing devices locally

Time frame  1-5 years  1-5 years  1-5 years   1-5 years   5-15 years  
10-15 years    10-15 years   
Sustainability  Very sustainable  Very sustainable   Very sustainable  Moderately sustainable  Low-moderately sustainable  Not very sustainable  Very sustainable 

 Volunteer interest in Sudan and Egypt


Getting children to attend school


Creating a program in Egypt may cause controversy 

 Farmers not wanting to pay extra for different crops


 No interest in crop rotation


 Legislation not being properly implemented/followed

 Cost for the amount of the toilets needed. 


→ Lack of use/not reasonable to travel to use it. 

Cost for the amount of the these needed. 


→ Getting citizens to use them and use them correctly.


Lifetime of technologies are short.

 Egyptian government not cooperating


Increased conflict between countries



Countries in the basin will not meet set standards


Agreement for discharge rates not determined


Enforcing residential discharge


Not being able to pay the World Bank back within 40 years 

 Becoming more in debt to the World Bank


Not having enough rainwater capturing devices


Companies not wanting to create more water treatment facilities 

Complements or Conflicts with Existing Programs
Complements Peace Corps program  Complements existing legislation about certain crop type usage.   Complements existing implementation.   →  Complements existing water purification methods. Complements existing treaties   Both: there are existing water treatment facilities 
Complements existing rainwater capturing techniques




 Educational programs

  • Solution: Increase the number of people volunteering in the Peace Corps in the region of Sudan and create a volunteer program from the Peace Corps in Egypt.


  • Background information: Rational thought about the water resources along the Nile is a vital mindset to develop, “this means the harnessing of intellectual resources for the betterment of lives of the peoples of the region” (Yohannes, 2008). It is vital for those in the basin to understand the ideas, policies, plans, and strategies to approach resource conservation and improved human relations. Sustainable development will unite people in the region so that they will approach a common goal.

    There are many simple strategies to reduce human effects on the environment, and if the general public were informed of these strategies and their success, then people will start to make more environmentally sound decisions. Volunteer programs such as the Peace Corps educate the public about AIDS, safe sex, and information technology and environmental protection, in which 40% of the volunteers serve in African countries (Peace Corps).  Although the Peace Corps has programs in Sudan and Ethiopia, they do not provide services in Egypt. Volunteers would need to be placed at specific villages or centers with a substantial number of people so that people will attend class.


  • Solution sustainability: This solution is very sustainable because by educating even one generation, the information will be passed on and practiced by following generations creating a chain effect of knowledge and a change in behaviors and perspective about environmentally friendly habits. Putting the initial cost and time into educational programs will lead to an educated public that will be more open-minded to adopting new practices and hopefully continue to do so throughout future generations.


  • Potential obstacles: Although the Peace Corps received $300 million per year, it will be difficult to increase the number of volunteer interest in Sudan, especially because the danger of the civil unrest and harsh living conditions, and to create a program in Egypt. Another huge obstacle is getting children to attend school. Since families need help in collecting firewood, mothers and children can spend up to seven hours a day collecting fuel wood and dung so they can cook dinner. It will be difficult to get enough people to attend.  


Crop rotations

  • SolutionImplement legislation requiring large scale farmers to implement crop rotation, and to push small scale and subsistence farmers to implement crop rotation as well.


  • Background informationAgriculture in the Nile river basin accounts for approximately 97% of sub-surface water withdrawals in Sudan. The main crops that are grown are wheat, rice, and maize. These crops demand lots of water, and with the growing water scarcity issues in the Nile basin, they would not be sustainable in the long run. Since the salinity levels in the water and on dry land increased, certain crops have experienced lower yields during their agricultural dominant time for growth. Rice and wheat are more salt tolerant species, so the crop yields are not affected by the salinity problems the Nile basin is facing. Crop rotation between a salt tolerant and a lesser salt tolerant crop would be beneficial to the lands ecological condition. Crop rotation also reduces the amount of pathogens and pests present on the land by alternating deep-rooted and shallow-rooted plants. Growing the same plants in the same area will result in the depletion of certain nutrients in the soil, and by rotating crops the nutrient levels vary which results in a different ratio of nutrients, and thus less depletion.


  • Solution sustainabilityThis solution would be very sustainable in the long-term. By implementing crop rotation, the ecological conditions of the land would improve significantly, reducing nutrient depletion of the soil, improving crop yields year after year, and if other less water demanding crops were introduced into the rotation, it would lessen the amount of water needed for irrigation, which would allow that extra water to be used elsewhere.


  • Potential obstaclesThere are a few potential obstacles that could prevent crop rotation from being an effective solution. These obstacles mainly deal with the individual farmers, as they might not want to pay more money for different crops to rotate in and out, or not care about taking the time and putting in the effort to rotate their crops after every season. Another obstacle could be that the farmers do not see a positive change in their crop yields immediately so they give up on rotation efforts. Another big obstacle might be people not following the rules from the legislation requiring crop rotation. Since many people in Sudan are nomadic or subsistence farmers, they might not be interested in crop rotation or think it will help them in any way. 



 Sanitation technology:



    1. Solution: Implement Eco-Sanitization Flush Toilet systems to communities of citizens to pump water and to treat waste water, which will decrease water pollution in the region. 


    1. Background information: This solution is already in the process of being implemented in the Nile Basin and in Sudan. The Eco-Flush Toilet systems are easy to install, are basically maintanence free, and only have up front costs.  The systems are installed with a hand pump and toilet facility which are connected to a playground infrastructure that powers it without using electricity. This solution will help the regions water quality problem because it treats the waste water by breaking it down with microbial activity. The output of these systems is 100% pathogen free and 85% pure water within 28 days. 


    1. Solution sustainability: This solution is very sustainable in that it is inexpensive over it's lifespan and treats waste water rather than storing it. This technology also can pump water using pressure rather than electricity. 


    1. Potential obstacles:
    • Populations could be too dispersed and citizens may not be willing to travel to use them.  



    1. Solution: Implement small scale water purification technologies like filters that can be made from resources of the region to improve drinking water quality. 


    1. Background information: Small scale water purification technologies accompanied by educational programs will further water quality for the citizens of Sudan. Ceramic filters and water bottle purification are very effective and inexpensive


    1. Solution sustainability: This solution is sustainable for the region in that they are cheap and or can be made by the citizens. Also, the technologies with education can be easy to use and are effective in purifying drinking water. As of now, cases of waterborne illnesses in this region are high and these technologies are a good method of reducing these cases in Sudan. The ceramic filters prevent pathogens and contaminants to flow through them and the water bottle purification with Sudan's climate conditions can purify water in just one hour. 


    1. Potential obstacles
    • Getting citizens to use them.
    • Short life span.
    • Insufficient income levels which would lead citizens to disregard buying effective small scale technologies. 



Long term solutions (10-15 years):


 Renegotiate treaties

  • Solution: Revise the current treaties dealing with yearly water allocation for Sudan and Egypt, and to account for population, industrial growth, and climate change, so the usable water from the Nile can be more properly allocated between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia. 


  • Background information: The existing treaties regarding water withdrawls for each country as of now are not sustainable for the long term. There are many conflicts over it, and if the treaties were reviewed and amended, the water from the nile could be spread out more evenly between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia. It could also reduce the tension between these countries and possibly prevent “water wars”.


  • Solution sustainability: This solution could be sustainable in the long run if the new amended treaties were open to changing again to account for factors like population growth, industrial growth, and climate change. If the treaties were amended and then not changed, there would be some change, but the same problem would result and even more conflict between the countries could arise.


  • Potential obstacles: There are many obstacles that would effect the implementation of this solution. One of the biggest obstacles would be the egyptian government not wanting to cooperate or give up any of the water that they already have allotted to them per year. Increased conflict between the basin countries could occur that would further inhibit cooperation in the revision of the treaties. Another obstacle could be that new countries could form (i.e. South Sudan) that need to be included in the treaties which would require further revision. Changing governments or newly elected leaders could also be a potential obstacle in the revision of the treaties because they might not agree with the stipulations so it further prolongs the time frame of revision. 



 Reducing the pollution levels (nutrients, salinity, and acidity)


  • Solution:
    1. Using in situ bioremediation practices to reduce the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous, and sulfur in the river
    2. Create legislation to prevent the dumping of untreated water from industrial facilities and commercial buildings into river and lakes
    3. Not allowing the construction of more dams to prevent the increase of salinity and siltation


  • Background information:  In order to reduce the amount of excess nutrients, bioremediation technologies could be used throughout the country. Bioremediation is a process that uses microorganisms to absorb the excess nitrates, sulfates, and phosphorous. This is an appropriate process for still water (such as water built up behind dams) that has high nutrient levels. Since there are six principle cities in the Sudan, our plan is to have in situ bioremediation practices along the Nile in those six regions. Each bioremediation technology is expected to cost about half a million dollars, which includes the total capital and operating costs (which includes direct labor, maintenance, sampling, shipping, waste disposal, etc). In which the total cost would be approximately $3 million for all six bioremediation technologies. This will effectively provide jobs to the people in Sudan and improve water conditions in the Nile. The World Bank will fund the operation by providing Sudan with loans. Since each country contributes to the problem, an inter-riparian agreement must be reached about standards of discharge into the river to make this goal a success. The World Bank “provided $20.1 million for 245 projects in developing countries worldwide in developing countries worldwide, with its finance and/or technical expertise aimed at helping those countries reduce poverty” (World Bank). These impoverished countries receive “loans from developed countries, grants, interest-free loans, and technical assistance from the World Bank to enable them to provide basic services” in which they have 40 years to repay with a ten year grace period. The world’s low income countries receive interest-free credit from the International Development Association (IDA)


  • Solution sustainability: Not necessarily sustainable in a long-term perspective because these facilities need to be maintained and operated year-round. This requires labors, materials, energy, and reconstruction after several years. However, it is a way to reduce the pollution in the Nile and increase the amount of consumable water.


  • Potential obstacles:
    • The countries in the basin will not make the changes necessary to achieve the set standards required by legislation to maintain the health of the Nile
    • Not reaching an agreement between all of the countries about discharge rates
    • Controlling residential discharge
    • Not being able to pay the World Bank back within 40 years


 Improve water infrastructure

  • Solution

               i. Create small scale water treatment facilities in the six most populated regions in the Sudan

               ii. Implement rainwater capturing devices in Sudan on a local, residential basis


  • Background information: In order to reduce the amount of direct pollution discharged into rivers with pipes leading directly to rivers and lakes, a system similar to POTW could be created except on a much smaller scale. This stands for publicly owned treatment works, which is a system that involved the collection of wastewater from homes, commercial buildings, and industrial facilities and sending them to a treatment plant. The treatment facilities would be small scale and consist of the basic steps for water treatment: a pH adjuster, floccin addition, liquid and solid separation, and finally sludge dewatering and disposal. Rainwater harvesting is the accumulation and storage of rainwater for reuse before it reaches an aquifer. There are three main components: 1.) catchment 2.) delivery systems 3.) storage reservoir. The catchment systems usually consists of some type of flat surface, like a rooftop, the delivery systems are usually gutters or pipes, and the reservoir is usually omse kind of barrel. If an impervious rooftop is not possible to create, a tarp could be used to increase the flow of the water on the roof. This system is found to cost about $100 per village. If this solution is implemented in the 20 most population dense areas, then the estimated cost will be a bit more than $2,000, which could be paid for by the World Bank


  • Solution sustainabilityThis is a long term sustainable solution because once the rainwater storage systems are in place, they do not require high maintenance or variable costs.


  • Potential obstacles:
    • Further in debt to the World Bank
    • Not having enough rainwater capturing devices
    • Companies not wanting to create any more water treatment facilities



Solutions integration


The goals and objectives to resolve the water scarcity fall into three categories: environmental, social and political, in which all solutions require a certain amount of funding and public outreach. The environmental goals mainly focus on implementing technologies to increase efficiency and/or conserve water, and to reduce water pollution. The environmental goals include adopting more sustainable agricultural practices, reducing salinity and acidity levels, and increasing water management practices. The social goals include improving health and educating the Sudanese citizens about environmental practices that will ultimately result in the conservation of water. The political goals include overcoming the barrier of the outdated treaties with Egypt limiting the amount of water Sudan can withdrawal from the Nile. The political goals also include policy requiring proper water resource management and regional coordination of water allocation and distribution between the different states within the Sudan.


In order to accomplish all of the objectives, the solutions need to follow a certain time line of implementation. The implementation of certain components of the solution relies on the success of implementing other components. The components of the solution can be broken up into four tiers that are based on the time of implementation:


  • Tier 1: implement within 5 years
    • Solutions that can be immediately implemented and allow for the success of the following components of the solution
      • Educational programs
      • Renegotiated treaties
  • Tier 2: implement within 10 years
    • Solutions that require legislative changes and cultural acceptance:
      • Change in agricultural practices
      • Technology adoption and implementation 
  • Tier 3: implement within 15 years
    • Solutions that require legislative changes:
      • Improved water infrastructure
  • Tier 4: achieve within 15 years
    • The outcome of implementing tiers 1 - 3
      •  Reduced pollution levels
      • Improved health





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