Status of Groundwater Quality and Pollution Risk in Sudan

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Abdo, Gamal Eldin Mortada
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University of Khartoum
Groundwater represents a vital source of fresh water supply in Sudan. Considerable groundwater potential is available in many aquifers covering large areas of the country. Many opportunities exist for utilizing this resource for future agricultural, industrial and urban development. Based on information from 1600 selected wells, the water quality of the main aquifers is generally good and fit for all purposes. Total dissolved solids (TDS) is low and rarely exceed 400 mg/l except at few locations where some small saline pockets exist with TDS exceeding 5000 mg/l. The Sodium adsorption ratio (SAR) in most aquifers is low, indicating high suitability for irrigation. With regard to contamination risk, urbanization and associated industrial activities are considered to be the major threat on groundwater. On-site excrete disposal system and improperly dumped solid waste pose serious hazard to groundwater under many major urban cities in Sudan. Also, excessive utilization of fertilizers over the past two decades has caused Nitrate contamination in areas where large agricultural activities exist. There are many laws and legislations for groundwater development and protection in Sudan but they are not enforced for many reasons. As an example of urban pollution, contaminant transport modelling has been applied to the aquifer in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, to predict future effects of on-site sanitation. The results show that contamination can spread vertically to significant depths affecting large parts of the aquifer. As Ammonia is considered to be the major output contaminant from septic tanks, it has been used in the Modelling as a point source pollutant applied in different areas with high concentration of septic tanks and disposal wells.
Groundwater Quality; Pollution Risk; Sudan