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Seasonal Migration

Movement southwards to wetter areas for cultivation or grazing has long been an adjustment to drought in this area and involves movement of part of the family, if it is not too severe, or of the whole family if severe or prolonged. The main limitation to this adjustment has been the increasing population pressure in the areas to the south, which is reflected in scarcity of water supply and the increasing reluctance of tribal groups controlling these lands to make land available. Nevertheless, this movement is still important (tables 9.10 and 9.14).

Dry season movement towards the Gezira and the White Nile is another possibility. This is important in enabling incomes to be supplemented and is the best alternative and most rewarding drought-adjustment strategy after livestockkeeping in this area. It is of long-standing importance, not only for drought-adjustment but also in normal years, as it helps provide supplementary income, enables grain to be purchased, and provides gainful occupation during the closed agricultural season, in particular from cotton-picking on the irrigation schemes. It also enables animals to graze the White Nile banks during the most critical months from April to June (tables 9.10 and 9.14)

Both of the above forms of seasonal migration were reported by the majority of respondents and are considered by them to be very effective adjustments to drought conditions. The problems associated with movement to the White Nile are probably more significant than those indicated for movement southwards.

First, low returns from working in irrigated areas for seasonal labour have become increasingly evident over the last decade. It is locally estimated that such seasonal work for families from the qoz of White Nile Province accounted for 35 per cent or more of their annual income ten years ago against less than 15 per cent in 1981. This is due entirely to the poor economic state of the modernized agriculture sector and has nothing to do with changes in their home area.

Secondly, there has been considerable permanent outmigration to the White Nile and elsewhere, especially among the younger and more active elements. This has reduced, seriously sometimes, the available labour input for rainland agriculture, which has adverse effects upon farming. Unfortunately this outward movement has not been accompanied by remittances to any great extent. Only 4 per cent of respondents reported "regular" receipt of remittances from migrant members of the family; 82 per cent reported that any "remittance" received was in the form of consumer goods; and 67 per cent reported that any such remittance was irregular and rare (i.e. not more than once every three years). Only 3 per cent said that any remittances received could be (or were) reinvested in the traditional agricultural economy, and in these cases they were used to buy livestock.

TABLE 9.12. Disposal of assets in times of drought

Prefer to sell No. Percentage
1. Animals 37 54.4
2 Crops 21 30.9
3. Other assets 10 14.7
Total 68 100.0
Reason for preferring to sell animals  
1. Animals kept as security against crop failure 23 62.2
2. Animals more at risk 9 24.3
3. Crops safeguard against famine 5 13.5
Total 37 100.0

TABLE 9. 13. Investment in year of crop surplus

Preference No. Percentage
1. Livestock 35 62.5
2. Farmland 12 21.4
3. Trace 5 8.9
Others 4 7.2
Total 56 100.0

TABLE 9.14. Drought-year strategy to minimize animal losses amongst essentially animal-rearers

  Strategy No. Percentage
1. Migration with animals southward or to White Nile 38 40.9
2. Sell some to feed others 21 22.5
3. Use returns from milk and stored fodder 18 19.4
4. All three strategies 16 17.2
  Total 93 100.0

Migration no longer functions effectively as a stabilizing adjustment for the traditional economy. The most recent form of permanent out-migration has broken the linkage between this area and the modern economy of the Nile by disturbing the normal seasonal "spillover" of labour from the traditional economy area. As a result the economy here is seriously disrupted to the extent of the area no longer being able even to maintain a sufficient grain supply for its inhabitants, which was certainly not the position under the old seasonal labour mechanism. The intrusion of outside influence, disruptive of the old traditional system, is seen in other ways too. The weekly markets in Suq el Helba and Esh Shuqeiq have stimulated not only out-migration and non-farm interests among young people, but also the production of cash crops (sesame and kerkade) at the expense of food production. The strategy of orientating the traditional sub-sector towards cashcrop production, as advocated by I LO ( 19761, has proved to be responsible for the critical food situation experienced in many of the rural areas at present. Food shortages have resulted in rapid increases in grain prices; between 1980 and 1981 aura prices increased from úS10 to úS20 a sack. Other dietary problems in this area are said to have resulted from the expansion of the cheese industry (ch. 7).


It is evident that the people in the study area, like the majority of people in the traditional sub-sector of the economy elsewhere in semi-arid areas of the Sudan, perceive drought according to its impact on their economy, specifically on their grain supply and livestock resources. Drought to them means both seasonal and "invisible" drought. In spite of the importance of individual experience in perception and action, "group perception" and action tend to be the general rule in the area. As a result we observe a "standard" system of warning, and "standard" drought indicators and adjustments. The individual may differ from the group in the choice of the relevant adjustment within the broad framework of the group choice. His choice is closely related to his personal characteristics of age, education, available family input, and his leaning towards a crop or livestock economy. The increasing loss of young people-who are normally more willing to take risks-by excessive migration is the main reason for the prevailing traditional sets of adjustment characterizing this society, dominated as it is by older people.

The main types of adjustment are: (i) adjustments within the traditional economic system to minimize drought losses and (ii) seasonal migration to increase non-farm activities, enabling the society to increase its capacity to absorb the effects of drought. The recent trend away from seasonal to permanent migration has reduced this stabilizing effect on the economy of the area. This has reduced the flow of cash annually injected into the economy, and has eroded family labour input.

Increasing out-migration has challenged the effectiveness of the family's successful socio-economic adjustments, which had proved very effective, until a decade ago, in holding a reasonable balance in the economy of the area. It is essential that a new balanced relationship between the traditional and modernized sectors of rural economy in the White Nile be established. First, a restructuring of land use needs to be developed in the area, based perhaps on agro-forestry and agro-pastoralism. Any new initiative needs to be of a "grassroots" nature that allows for people's experience and attitudes so as to release their potential for development. it needs also to ensure the proper ecological use of the area, and must take full account of the special problems of an area periodically afflicted with drought conditions. Ideally any set of proposals should incorporate ways of giving better advanced warning of such conditions, though in practice this may well be impossible

Secondly, the problem of migration needs to be tackled as the chief cause of developing disequilibrium in Sudan's rural areas, especially in the semi-arid zone. But this can only come from a change of national policy and attitudes. A more areally comprehensive form of development is required if the attractiveness of urban areas and of a limited number of rural areas is to be lessened. Without improvement in the rural infrastructure and the status of rainland farming this will not take place.

Thirdly, none of the above can take place unless measures to combat desertification are effectively developed. This brings us back full circle to the start, because it involves in particular changes in attitudes to land and its use. The single final aim must be to produce a new socioeconomic pattern in the area which is self-generating, and which has links with, but is not subservient to, the other economic regions of the country.


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Berry, B. L. 1978. "Agricultural Decision Making," Progress in Human Geography, 2: 452-468.

Chorley, R. J., ed. 1973. Directions in Geography. Methuen, London.

Dasgupta, B. 1979. "Migration and Rural Employment." Land Reform (FAO), 1: 23-34.

Hilwagy, R. 1962. "The Impact of Man on Semi-desert Vegetation in the Sudan."J. Ecol, 50: 263-273.

Ibrahim, F. 1978a. "Millet Cultivation as a Major Cause of Desertification in Darfur and Kordofan, Sudan." In Regional IGU Conference Report, vol. l, pp. 1-4. Lagos.

--- . 1978b, "Anthropogenic Causes of Desertification in Western Sudan." Geojournal, 2: 243-254.

---. 1978c. The Problem of Desertification in the Republic of the Sudan. SRC Monograph Series, 8. Khartoum,

ILO. 1976. Growth, Employment and Equity: A Comprehensive Strategy for the Sudan. l LO, Geneva.

Kates, R. W., et al. 1977. "Population, Society and Desertification." In UN Conference on Desertffication, pp. 261-317.

Khogali, M. M. 1978. "Western Sudanese Migrants in Khashm el Girba Agricultural Region." IGU Population Pre-Conference Symposium. Zaria, Nigeria.

Manners, l. R., and M. W. Mikesell, eds. 1974. Perspective on Environment. Association of American Geographers, Washington, D.C.

Mensching, H., and F. Ibrahim. "The Problem of Desertification in and around Arid Lands." Applied Science and Development (Tubingen), 10: 7-43.

Mitchell, B. 1980. "Models of Resource Management."Progress in Human Geography, 4(2): 35-56.

Mitchell, J. K. 1974. "Natural Hazard Research." In I. R. Manner and M.W. Mikesell, Perspective on Environment, pp. 311-342.

Rapp, A., and U. Heliden.1979. Research on Environmental Monitoring Methods for Land Use Planning in African Dry Lands. Department of Physical Geography, University of Lund, Lund

Saarinen, T.J. 1966. "Perception of Drought-hazard in the Great Plains." Research Paper no. 106. Dept. of Geography, Chicago University, Chicago.

Sudan Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. 1976, Sudan's Desert Encroachment Control Rehabilitation Programme (DECARP). Khartoum.

Teizlaff, R., and K. Wohlmuth.1980. The Option of the Sudan Development Policy. An English summary of a comprehensive report. Bremen University, Bremen.

United Nations. 1977. Report on the UN Conference on Desertification. Nairobi.

Von Maydell, H.-J. 1979. "Agro-forestry: A Combination of Agricultural, Sylvicultural and Pastoral Land-use," Plant Research and Development, vol. 9, pp.17-23. Institute of Science and Cooperation, Hamburg University, Hamburg,

--- . 1980. "Effect of Goat Husbandry on Forest and Range Ecosystems," Plant Research and Development, 12.

White, G. F. 1961. "The Choice of Use in Resource Management." Natural Resource Journal, 1: 23-40.

--- . 1973, "Natural Hazard Research." In R. J. Chorley, Directions in Geography, pp.193-216.

10.Local administration, water supply, and community participation in White Nile province

Y. A. Mohammed

Editor's Introduction

The present system of local government in the Sudan was laid down by the People's Local Government Act of 1971. The position before 1971 had been established under the Local Government Ordinance of 1951, whereby the country was divided into nine provinces with a total of 87 elected, semiautonomous town and rural councils. These in turn had grown out of arrangements made since 1935 for elected councils to take over progressively responsibility for local affairs from the old Native Administration, which was based upon tribal chiefs and traditional leaders. In many ways the 1951 ordinance merely confirmed, consolidated, and organized coherently a process that had been slowly evolving.

The 1971 Act aimed at encouraging mass participation in local affairs. It was argued that on the one hand central government had become divorced from the people and, on the other, local government elected councils were in practice dominated by traditional leaders and elites, so that it was not possible for the rural masses to be heard. Women in particular were totally unrepresented. The new hierarchical arrangement is represented in figure 10.1. The councils at the lowest range of the hierarchy are elected, while those higher up the four-tier system are filled by delegation from below. Provision is made in the Act for strong representation by the Sudan Socialist Union (Sudan's only political party) at every level of the hierarchy. in further pursuit of the devolutionary policy the number of provinces was increased from 9 to 18. White Nile Province, which resulted from the break-up of the old Blue Nile Province, is composed of three district councils, two rural councils (Southern White Nile and Northern White Nile), and Kosti town council. Smaller councils below this level number about 5,000 in the Sudan as a whole. Each council in the hierarchy is assisted by a series of subcommittees, and it is possible for each nomadic camp or village council to have up to 18 sub-committees.

Since 1980, in further pursuit of a policy of devolution, firstly the north and then, from 1983, the south has been divided into regions. Each of the nine has certain delegated powers with its own set of ministries. White Nile Province lies in the new Central Region, which also includes two other provinces, Gezira and Blue Nile. In fact the boundaries of the new region coincide with the boundaries of Blue Nile Province as laid down in 1951. These new arrangements give six levels in the administrative hierarchy, the four erected by the 1971 Act plus regional and national levels.

FIG.10.1. Local government organization (After Arifi,1978)

A further complicating factor that creates problems for rural development is the existence of the central ministries with their different and sometimes overlapping functions; these also have their representatives at regional and provincial level. The dilemma lies in the fact that, unless the functions of national and regional ministries are clearly defined in relation to local government, much duplication of activity may take place, one ministry's decision perhaps negating the work of another ministry or local subcommittee. Yet if boundaries are too closely defined a series of unfortunate "noman's lands" are likely to appear.

To date the 1971 Act does not appear to have achieved its primary aim of encouraging a greater degree of effective community participation. Undoubtedly some of the problem has lain with the presuppositions upon which it was based. It was drawn up by urban-based people who looked askance at what they saw as exploitative situations in rural areas, in which traditional leaders, often with a different political viewpoint from that of central government, exerted too much power and authority. The Act removed them from power but their place has not been taken by individuals with sufficient knowledge and understanding of the structures of traditional society, so that there are few new rural leaders who command enough authority and respect to take a lead, knowing that the people will follow. There is a shortage of people in local government with sufficient status and knowledge to stand up for local interest on the one hand, and on the other to see that central government ordinances are obeyed (Arifi, 1978,1980).

Lack of authority is a most serious problem in all matters of environmental management in Sudan, and nowhere more so than in relation to water in the desert margin areas, where the use of water points by the various groups was formerly organized by traditional tribal leaders.

Financial constraints are frequently put forward as a cause of local government inadequacy. Important as these may be, they are exacerbated (or even eclipsed) by the complexity of the government machinery. The organs of central government have become entwined in their functions with those of regional and local government, so that it is difficult to ascertain who is responsible for what; and even if this is not the case, the slowmoving and cumbersome administrative procedures ensure that decisions are long in coming and that the original objectives of a proposal become lost or distorted in their progress from committee to committee.

Some of these problems are now reviewed in relation to rural water provision and organization in White Nile Province.

Rural Water Supply

The degree to which a water supply system fulfils its function depends almost directly on the efficiency and effectiveness of its management Wagner and Lanoix, 1959) and hence of its administration. Rural water supply administration is composed of three interrelated stages: planning; construction; and operation, including maintenance (Saunders, 1976). It is common in developing countries for administration at the planning and construction stages to be carried out at national level. The administrative problems become more intractable at the local level, where they concern the operation and maintenance of small local rural water supply systems. At this level water administration and management are seen to be composed of two elements: organization, which deals with record-keeping and finances; and structure, which should ensure the delivery of safe water to the consumer. Both functions are very difficult to carry out under the conditions prevailing in rural Sudan. It is with the intention of improving this situation that policy has been turned towards the question of involving the local inhabitants in the administration of their own water supply system. This initiative may be seen to parallel the changes in local government organization springing from the 1971 Act.

In the Sudan, rural water development programmes have been seen as a significant part of national planning objectives within the framework of the department, or ministry, to which rural water supply provision and development has been assigned. At first the rural water programme was developed in response to soil deterioration, and provision of better rural water supply was looked upon as a mechanism to achieve soil conservation and proper land use. This aim brought about the establishment in 1947 of the Rural Water Supplies and Soil Conservation Board (Jefferson, n.d.). From the mid 1960s rural water supplies were increasingly seen as the main instrument for facilitating rural development: adequate rural water supply was seen as the catalyst from which all development would flow. This resulted in the establishment of a separate authority for organizing rural water provision, the Rural Water Development Corporation-subsequently renamed the National Administration for Water. At the same time the number of water points dramatically increased with the "Anti-Thirst Programme" of the mid 1960s. Through its regional offices in each province and in collaboration with local authorities, the new body was charged with planning, constructing, and managing existing rural water supply sources throughout the country, and giving advice to central governmenton all matters relating to water supply provision and development.

The increased scale of work to be organized essentially from Khartoum led to serious shortcomings in the maintenance programme; in particular, a large number of water sources did not function efficiently because of breakdowns in equipment, lack of maintenance, and shortage of essential spare parts. These problems led to a change in the system of management. The Rural Water Development Corporation (RWDC) became responsible only for planning, construction, and general supervision of all water sources, while the local authorities and rural councils became responsible for administration and revenue collection in relation to each water point. The system of administration that emerged varies from province to province, which in itself is proving a source of inefficiency. In White Nile Province three different sorts of body are now responsible for the administration of water sources: the Rural Water Development Corporation (NAW: National Administration for Water); rural councils and village committees; and contractors.

One problem faced by all those involved with rural water supply provision is rising costs. In 1975 the average cost of constructing a wateryard (water from a borehole) was úS17,750, but by 1980 it had risen to úS60,000. The costs for dams and hafirs vary according to capacity. The approximate cost of excavating 1 m3 in 1975 was 35-45 piastres, while by 1980 it had risen to more than úS1. These figures may be compared with 4 piastres in 1947! Administration costs vary according to the type of water source and may be divided into direct and indirect costs. Direct costs include spare parts, fuel, oils, and salaries, whilst indirect costs include maintenance, supervision, training, and depreciation of pumps and equipment. In 1975 the total of both direct and indirect costs for maintaining one wateryard averaged úS2,900 p.a. By 1980 the cost is estimated to be more than four times as much. For hafirs and dams the costs of administration are well below those of a wateryard and include salaries of guards, some occasional maintenance to remove silt, and the opening of feeders.

Beside the Nile, three types of water source are to be found in White Nile Province, namely wateryards, hafirs and dams, and shallow wells (fig. 10.2). For the purpose of water administration, the province is divided into three regions: la) Eastern Region, lb) Western Region, and (c) South-western Region (table 10.1). It will be observed the this division does not coincide with that used for local government.

TABLE 10.1. Water sources under the National Administration for Water

Region Wateryard Hafirs Shallow wellsa
Eastern Region 64 10  
Western Region 60 13  
South-western Region 51 23  
Total 175 46 280

a. The number of shallow wells does not include traditional wells.

FIG. 10.2. Wateryards and hafirs in White Nile Province

Wateryards are supplied by deep boreholes tapping water in the Nubian or Umm Ruwaba Series. They are provided with a storage tank, pump, and drinking troughs and are enclosed by a fence. Four types with respect to location and water use are identified in the province: remote wateryards at some distance from the White Nile, intended for livestock and nomadic tribes and mainly run by contractors; village wateryards intended mainly to provide villagers with domestic water supplies; wateryards near the Nile; and seasonal wateryards.

There are 46 hafirs in the province. Most of them are found in the south-western region where rainfall is higher (Kosti: 404 mm) and the area is underlain by deep clays. They are mainly intended for nomadic use and most are open and unfenced. Four are provided with filters and water storage tanks but during the survey in 1980 all the pumps and filters were out of action.

Shallow wells do not come under the jurisdiction of the NAW. Shallow wells in this province are either "traditional" or "improved." Normally traditional shallow wells are dug annually in a wadi bed and lined with straw. They may be owned either by individuals or by a group of people. The improved shallow wells are dug either by the rural councils or through self-help projects and are lined with cement, so that they become permanent. Water from shallow wells is free. Previously, they were maintained regularly. At present there are 280 improved shallow wells in the province.

Water administration used to be under the control of the waterproviding agency (i.e. NAW, formerly the Rural Water Development Corporation). Since 1966 RWDC has started to involve rural councils in revenue collection, as the rapid rise in the number of water points made their national task impossible. This first attempt at local involvement in the administration of rural water supplies failed because the rural councils lacked trained personnel and failed to supervise effectively the collection of revenue. The rural councils and the RWDC also met further difficulties associated with maintenance, petrol provision, spare parts, and lack of skilled labour.

In response to this situation different types of administrative structures were created in White Nile province involving the RWDC rural councils, village councils, and contractors. In the province nearly all the wateryards in the northern part (i.e. 60 per cent) are administered by contractors; 30 per cent in Southwestern Region are under RWDC assisted by village councils; and 10 per cent are under the control of rural councils.

Contractors are usually merchants who compete to administer a wateryard or a hafir after paying a sum of money, varying in size according to expected sales, to the rural council. The contractor sells water to the consumers at a rate fixed by the rural council. He has to provide petrol and sundry costs whilst the rural council is responsible for maintenance, repairs, and the salary of the operator.

Water sources administered by RWDC are under the control of a clerk, an operator, and a guard. Theoretically, the RWDC is supposed to provide petrol, oil, spare parts, and maintenance, but it finds itself frequently unable to meet its responsibilities. The local wateryard management, therefore, looks to villagers for help, creating a number of formal and informal organizations in the form of wateryard committees to collect funds through self help to buy spare parts, petrol, or other necessities. These committees have proved very successful, as they have been able to mobilize local resources and funds and involve the local community in the administration of its own water source.

Each of these different administrative structures has advantages and disadvantages with respect to efficiency, local involvement, and ability to meet the needs of the community. The RWDC has the technical and administrative personnel to carry out maintenance and to provide spare parts efficiently. It also has the ability to move maintenance teams quickly to where they are needed. On the other hand, it is a technical department concerned more with the problems of drilling, construction, and maintenance of water sources than with their operation, and cannot provide the close supervision for the efficient administration of scattered wateryards. Besides, the local community does not feel that the water source is really theirs so long as it is controlled by government officials. Thus, this type of administration does least to encourage the local community to take action to solve its problems. This is why the local community becomes involved only when problems arise or when asked by the clerk of the wateryard for its assistance.

The administration of water sources through contractors relieves the RWDC and rural councils of the burden of administration and of most other costs related to the operation of the water source. Under these arrangements the water source is seen as a commercial commodity and not as a prerequisite for development or a way to achieve certain social aims relating to health and hygiene. Furthermore, because the contractor is not responsible for maintenance and wishes to make a good profit, equipment tends to deteriorate quickly.

Rural councils began to be involved in the administration of the water sources after 1970. Being much nearer to the community using the various water sources than the RWDC, these councils are more aware of the local problems and can respond quickly to solve them. They are close enough to supervise revenue collection and proper operation of the source. Through these councils it is hoped that the local inhabitants will become involved in the efficient maintenance of their own water supply. The newly created village councils may be used also to mobilize local resources and ensure village involvement and participation. However, experience to date suggests that in practice the rural councils have not been able to supervise properly the operation and maintenance of water sources. Water administration is a new responsibility for them. Lack of funds and their inability to collect efficiently the revenue due from wateryards have contributed greatly to their failure in this field.

The rural councils have also failed to make use of such organizations as village councils and development committees. In each village in the province, there is a committee of one sort or another involved in village affairs. Informally they give help to the management of the water source, whether it is RWDC, a contractor, or the rural council Their willingness to take part in solving the problems of their own village water supply cannot be gainsaid, but there is at present no mechanism to formalize their participation. In a survey of 25 villages in the province, 15 (60 per cent) said that they were willing to take any action required to improve their water supply situation, but 19 (75 per cent) think that water provision (i.e. drilling, construction, and maintenance) should be the responsibility of the government. The villagers see their role as the providers of cash contributions to cover operation costs such as spare parts, fuel, and administration.

Ten villages (40 per cent) complained bitterly of the failures of management relating to frequent breakdowns, slowness in carrying out repairs, and shortage of petrol to operate pumps. The villages feel that these problems, especially those relating to the supply of petrol, are becoming more serious. Petrol and spare parts are usually "obtained" at a high cost, and these costs are recouped by collecting extra charges, over and above the official ones, from consumers.

A survey of villagers' views as to how water supply arrangements could be improved gave the following results:

1. Water source should be managed on a day-to-day basis, to ensure efficient running, by the villagers themselves (30 per cent).
2. Water source should be managed on the same basis by a contractor (20 per cent).
3. All matters in connection with the water source should be run by RWDC (20 per cent).
4. Local management based on efficient revenue collection with less room for "maladministration" (30 per cent).

This result shows clearly the willingness of the villagers to shoulder the responsibility for water administration to ensure an efficient service.

Conclusion (H. R. J. Davies)

This study has reviewed the advantages and disadvantages of different administrative arrangements for providing rural water supply in White Nile Province. The question revolves around centralization or decentralization. The local community has clearly indicated its willingness and ability to provide a satisfactory service to the consumer and suggests that day-to-day running should be in the hands of the local community and decentralized in this respect. Construction and maintenance of wateryards and other water points is beyond their competence and should remain centralized through the National Administration for Water. Local organizations have proved their ability to get things done through self-help projects, and water supply is no exception, but they do need technical assistance with regard to the fitting of spare parts and the purchase of petrol.

Local successes in the operation of wateryards must not be allowed to obscure the fact that there is no proper system at village level to implement local community involvement. One of the problems created by the 1971 People's Local Government Act has been the large number of local committees competing in village-affairs, each to the detriment of the efficient operation of the others. It therefore seems churlish to suggest that another committee be set up, and yet there seems to be little alternative to the official establishment of a special village water committee in each village to handle problems of water administration. Through this committee the villagers will be able to participate effectively in solving the problems of rural water supplies and shoulder some of the financial burden with regard to operation costs. The NAW, as a technical department, is more equipped to carry out maintenance. Thus a formula must be found to share the responsibilities between the local community and the waterproviding agency. Administration of water sources through contractors has proved to be a failure under present arrangements. The temptation to make a quick profit out of supplying water irresponsibly rather than through service to the community has in most cases proved too great.

The declared aims of the People's Local Government Act, supported by the later decision to establish regional governments, augurs well for the better association of the village with the centre. However, the failure of the new system to lead so far to coherent ideas on planning objectives for local areas, and its failure to lead to true local community involvement, is unfortunate. The need for local involvement has been demonstrated clearly in this study in relationship to rural water supplies. It is to be hoped that in the present climate the admitted inability of the National Administration for Water to fulfil its mandate properly, and the local people's passionate interest in the provision and maintenance of their water supply, can be brought together into a fruitful partnership based on a clearly defined and well-understood formula whereby the needs and problems of one side can be appreciated and understood by the other, to mutual advantage of both.

Success here could be of great significance for the future of rural development in Sudan, as the Government of Sudan has always believed that the proper provision of rural water supplies is the essential prerequisite for all rural development. Although not dealt with in this discussion, the spatial distribution of water sources can be a potent factor in bringing about environmental degradation (Mohammed, 1985).


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---. 1980. "Some Aspects of Local Government and Environ" mental Management in Sudan." Mimeo. Khartoum.

Davies, H. R. J., ed. 1985. Nataral Resources and Rural Dovelopment in Arid Lands: Case Studies from Sudan. United Nations University, Tokyo.

Jefferson, J. H. K. N,d. Soil Conservation in the Sudan. Ministry of Agriculture, Khartoum.

Mohammed, Y. A. 1985. "The Impact of Improved Rural Water Supplies on the Environment: The Case of East Kordofan District." In H. R. J. Davies, Natural Resources end Rural Development in Arid Lands.

Mohammed, Y. A. and M, H. Abu Sin, 1982. "Social and Managerial Aspects of Rural Water Supplies in the Sudan." Unpublished report. Khartoum.

Saunders, R. H., and J. J. Walford. 1976. Village Water Supply. Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, Md.

Wagner, E. G., and J. N. Lanoix. 1959. Water Supply for Rural and Small Communities. Monograph 42.

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