Inadequate funds limiting Water Resource and Irrigation ministry from national implementations.

A man fetches water for his family.A man fetches water for his family.

South Sudan is afflicted by political instability, poverty, and food insecurity. With 43 percent of the population living on less than $1.90 per day, a weak economy, and ongoing internal conflict, South Sudan ranks among the most fragile states in the world.

A  government official has said Lack of funds is hindering the smooth implementation of a comprehensive master plan developed by South Sudan’s Water Resource and Irrigation ministry,

Irrigation minister, Manawa Peter Gatkouth said his ministry still lacks the funds needed for smooth implementation and execution of annual strategic plans.

There is no proper implementation and execution of approved annual budget as proposed and that is why budgets are approved, but not implemented as planned.

According to the minister, with the current incidences of flooding, areas covered by fresh water resources could have increased to control the floods.

Climate change induced flooding has become a major threat to the lives, livelihood, property and dignified living conditions of large numbers of people across South Sudan,” he explained.

Gatkouth said despite the huge development opportunities, communities in flood-hit areas suffer and are isolated from major development activities in the country, leaving them to carry on with rudimentary agricultural practices which do not yield tangible socio-economic breakthroughs in their livelihoods.

He further said claims made are returned back to line ministries from the Ministry of Finance, which are resubmitted for approval in the next financial budget. The Ministry of Finance should change its policy in regard to the execution of budget approval

Heavy rains, according to United Nations estimates, have caused widespread flooding which has so far affected more than 400,000 people as the rainy season continues.

The water Crisis in South Sudan means aving to travel long distances to obtain clean drinking water also creates health and safety concerns for women and children in South Sudan. Walking long distances every day to access water increases the risk of severe dehydration as well as Violence and kidnappings

 

The conflict has also displaced more than two million people, driving them into other countries or away from their available water sources. People settled in rural areas are heading to the cities, putting further pressure on already strained water sources and worsening the water crisis in South Sudan.

 

According to data from 2016, one in three people use contaminated water daily. This water may come from the Nile or from swamp areas, both of which present immense risks of bacterial infections. When the choices are either to be thirsty or drink dirty water, people have to choose the water. As a result of the contaminated water, there were 20,000 reported cases of cholera in South Sudan between June 2016 and the start of 2018.

 

Most water in South Sudan is not put towards domestic use. 97%goes to the agricultural industry and in these strenuous times, a lack of water presents challenges for their main industry. 80 percent of the South Sudanese support themselves through farming, and without enough water to grow crops, their nutrition and economy suffer.

 

A total of 871 million dollars has been given to South Sudan so far, but this only meets half of the goal to solve the crisis. Still, significant work is being done by humanitarian organizations, including Oxfam, which is working on the ground to improve access to clean drinking water. Its goal is to make long-lasting, sustainable changes to how water is accessed in order to end the water crisis in South Sudan.

 

Fifty percent of South Sudanese have access to basic drinking water, 30-50 percent of water facilities are non-functional at any point in time, and only 10 percent of the population has access to basic sanitation. Weak water sector governance, limited funding and funding absorption capacity, human resource constraints, and limited data for decision-making are among the major drivers of low access rates.

In light of the changing socioeconomic and political context, USAID’s development programing in South Sudan focuses on critical service provision in basic and emergency education and health. USAID invests in providing drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene in schools and hospitals, and supports emergency WASH for internally displaced people who are living under the protection of the United Nations (UN), and in nearby host communities.

Portfolio priorities include promoting social accountability through citizen engagement in water and sanitation infrastructure and promoting gender-sensitive solutions to mitigate gender-based violence.

USAID coordinates these investments with other donors through a WASH Donor Group that works to identify needs, leverage resources, and avoid duplication of effort. Other major partners include Germany and UNICEF.

Overall, USAID water and development activities are estimated to provide more than 385,000 South Sudanese with access to basic water supplies, and help 145,000 people gain access to basic sanitation.

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