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Gov’t plans resumption of Jonglei Canal

By Tereza Jeremiah Chuei

The government through the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation has drafted documentation of the Jonglei Canal project and is ready to be passed to the Council of Ministers soon.

In an interview with Juba Monitor on phone, the press secretary in the office of the minister, Gattiek Wichar dismissed the speculation on people’s minds that the Jonglei canal is something new adding that it’s just a fear that the completion of the project will bring negative impact.

“What we have in the ministry is a proposal, that we should complete what was not completed, there is less negative impact than benefit, and it’s a matter of fear, there is no evidence that this will reflect a negative impact on people.

This project can help mitigate the floods that are affecting our people, right now the drafted document is ready only that it’s not yet summited to the council of ministers for approval, but it will soon be summited, “he explained.

However, the Minister of Environment and Forestry, Josephine Napwon Cosmos had earlier this year dismissed speculations alleging government intention to resume digging of Jonglei Canal saying that what was mentioned before about Jonglei Canal has not been passed to the Council of ministers.

She added that the council of ministers wouldn’t just pass it without the approval of parliament.

The Jonglei canal project which has been halted since 1984 following the outbreak of the civil war between the Sudanese government and the SPLM/A movement is seen as a major threat to the ecology of the Sudd region, the largest wetland in Africa which occupies an area of about 57,000 square kilometers.

According to UNESCO, the Sudd is home to some 350 plants species, 470 bird species, over 100 fish species, 100 mammalian species, over 120 insect species, and an unknown number of reptilian and amphibian species.

The canal project was intended to bypass the water-holding Sudd swamps that stretch from parts of Central Equatoria, Jonglei, Lakes, and Unity through to Upper Nile State, to a point above the landmark and direct water to the main channel of the White Nile.

Meanwhile, Environmental expert, Deng Majok Cholsuggested that investing in the relocation of the most affected population and communities to other regions that are unaffected by the ongoing large-scale flooding would help mitigate flooding.

He also added that the Construction of higher, bigger, and safer dykes around key towns that are partially submerged would help to protect towns that are still operational.

However, he further added that digging or renovation of the Fula Dam near Nimule would regulate water flow and flood control as well as the utilization of clean electricity from hydropower sources.

Chol also mentions that digging of water reservoirs and dams in strategic areas that are adjacent to the multiple sources of flooding would also mitigate flooding in the Country.“Establishment of National Water Resources Management Institute (NWRMI) in South Sudan, either by the Act of Parliament or through Executive Order of the President of the Republic of South Sudan,”

“Comprehensive plan for South Sudan sustainable water resources management, with the collaboration of multiple institutions: Ministries of Water Resources and Irrigation, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry, Wildlife among other relevant institutions,” he suggested.

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