West Darfur to launch merging water and electricity bills

Children fill tanks from a well to distribute drinking water in Darfur (File photo: Albert González Farran / UNAMID)


The Water Authority in West Darfur has announced the launch of a transition to linking electricity and water bills to facilitate digitisation for electronic collection, indicating that data entry will begin in May. The linking of the utility bills, which is to roll out across Sudan, is controversial, because people in marginalised areas complain that they will now be charged fees for the water infrastructure, while they have not had access to running water for many years.

In a press conference monitored by Radio Dabanga on Sunday, director of the West Darfur water authority, Hussein Manzul, said that West Darfur is the first state to start joint electronic collection of electricity and water. He said that linking the two invoices would expedite the handling of communications and complaints, and address the challenges facing collection teams in the neighbourhoods.

He said that there are about 18,000 subscribers to water services in the state capital El Geneina, and that the data will be updated. He also called on consumers to pay their existing arrears.


The announced transition to merge the water and electricity bill has been planned to roll out across all states in Sudan over time, but it has been met with public resistance, especially in marginalised areas where the water facilities are inadequate or the infrastructure is in dire need of upgrading, maintenance, and repair.

Last month, the association of residents and displaced people of the villages around the Upper Atbara and Setit Dam Complex accused the Dams Implementation Unit and the El Gedaref state government of ignoring their plight regarding a chronic shortage of drinking water, despite their proximity to a reliable water source. They demand that the infrastructure of pumps and water points be extended with increased capacity.

In a statement at the time, the association appealed for a review of the decision to merge the water and electricity bills, asserting that there are families who pay the fees but have not had access to running water since 2013.