Economics of Water Use in Semi-Arid Environment: Darfur Case Study
Emerging Markets Economics, Environmental and Social Aspects Journal, Vol. 2, No. 24, March 15, 2011
16 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2011 Last revised: 29 Mar 2014
Date Written: February 25, 2011
Environmental, climatic and economic human influences contribute to the problem of water scarcity in arid and semi-arid areas of the world, particularly in the less developed countries. This has impeded economic development in these regions. Thus, the call is for better methodological approaches for investigating the problem from an interdisciplinary perspective and at a local scale, i.e., the bottom-up approach. This study investigates the nature of water use in a selected drought-inflicted village and develops an analytical framework for assessing the water demands of alternative economic development scenarios. A review of hydro-climatologically characteristics, land use practices, and technological development provides information on water resources availability and human activities in the region. Surveys of human activities and water use in the study village, Kutum indicate the following conditions: water scarcity, unsustainable agricultural development, and subsequent food and economic insecurity. Further investigations indicate that groundwater is the most dependable source of water. Its use is dominated by agricultural activities especially irrigation and animal rearing. These are the most water intensive activities based on the ratio of water use to income generation. Results of the study provide useful information for the development of predictive models and water conservation strategies. Estimates of direct and total requirements of both economic and ecological commodities showed sparse sectoral interdependence within the economic system but a heavy dependence of the economy on the environment. Such dependence is more on water, a scarce commodity in this semi-arid environment. The most intensive users of water based on the direct effects include animal husbandry, building and irrigated agriculture; based on total effects are catering, building and animal husbandry, in descending order.
Keywords: Sahel, Sudan, Darfur, Arid, Semi-Arid Zones, Water Use, Sustainability, Agricultture, Economic Sectors
JEL Classification: O00, O18, Q2, Q20, Q21, R00, R1, R2, R10, R20, R21, R23, R24, R29
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