Our team visited two counties in Jonglei, South Sudan: Uror and Akobo West this spring in order to map the location of existing boreholes, report their functionality, as well as its sanitary and hygienic conditions of the population using the water points. Since boreholes are prominent sources of water in Jonglei, it is important to visit and examine whether they are able to ensure that families will have continuous access to clean water.

Photo: PAH

In Uror County, located in the heart of the state, there are 164 boreholes, of which 26 are broken. With a population of 178,519 people, one borehole serves about 1095 people. Meanwhile in Akobo West County, located east of Uror County, there are 72 boreholes with 10 broken boreholes, serving 753 individuals per one borehole. In both counties, our team was not able to access some boreholes due to security reasons and lack of clear paths to the boreholes. 

Yet, with our inspections, we remained able to assess the basic conditions of the boreholes. Some boreholes were functioning very well under good conditions, but many were not. 20 of Uror County’s boreholes and 16 of Akoba West County’s boreholes were reported to have unsatisfactory water discharge. Additional challenges included families travelling long distances to access these water sources and repairs of boreholes were delayed and inefficient, due to the lack of water management committees and pump mechanics. Sanitary and hygienic conditions of the boreholes were also poor because of open defecation practices, dirty and blocked drains, and the usage of dirty jerry cans to fetch water.

Much work can still be done to improve the access and quality of water in South Sudan that include building and repairing boreholes in specific sections of each county, training more pump mechanics, and promoting sanitary and hygienic maintenance of the boreholes.

The borehole mapping took place in the framework of the  project “WASH & EPR&R in the Most vulnerable Areas of South Sudan” co-financed by European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Department.