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Environment and health
Desertification in Sudan is due in particular to overgrazing, but also to climate variability and reduced rainfall. Overgrazing is especially important around water points (AWF, 2011; HCENR, 2008). As a result, groundwater yields have reduced and aquifer levels have lowered in Darfur and Kassala states, and intrusion of seawater appeared in the Red Sea coastal zone (UNEP, 2007).
Environmental pollution of water and soil resources results from uncontrolled use of chemicals (UNEP, 2012), in particular obsolete pesticide stocks, as well as water pollution from sugar factories and extensive aerial spraying. Water pollution is especially worrying when irrigation canals are the source of drinking water, such as in Managil extension (UNEP, 2007).
Siltation of irrigation canals and dams is also significant, with its subsequent built-up of aquatic weeds. It results not only in loss of hydropower potential, but also in loss of agricultural production. In addition, some 500 000 ha were salinized by irrigation in 2000, reducing agricultural yields too.
In Darfur, disputes over natural resources, particularly between pastoralist, nomadic and settled populations, have become inextricably linked to the wider regional conflict. The increasing water shortages resulting from changes in climatic conditions have added to the conflict existing in 3 states of the region for a decade (AWF, 2011).