Water for South Sudan

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Water for South Sudan
Formation 2003 (2003)
Type NGO
Legal status 501(c) organization
Purpose Humanitarian
Headquarters Rochester, New York
Wau, South Sudan
Region served
Rural South Sudan
Website waterforsouthsudan.org

Water for South Sudan (formerly known as Water for Sudan) is a US 505(c)(3) nonprofit corporation whose mission is to create access to and monitor safe drinking water for communities located in remote rural areas of South Sudan. The goal of Water For South Sudan (WFSS) is to increase the quality of life and health of families in South Sudan by drilling wells to provide fresh, safe potable water.


The history of the organization centers on its founder, Salva Dut. In 1985, Sudan was wracked by the Second Sudanese Civil War. Millions died while millions more were displaced, fleeing to refugee camps in Ethiopia, Kenya, and other neighboring countries. Finally, in 2005, after over two decades of war, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed. A truce was declared and the semi-autonomous Government of Southern Sudan was established for that region.

Among those who originally fled through barren, war-torn southern desert were thousands of children, mostly boys, some as young as five. They became known as the "Lost Boys of Sudan." Salva Dut was one of those boys. As an 11-year-old Dinka from Tonj in southwest Sudan, Dut fled first to Ethiopia. Then, as a teenager, he led 1500 "Lost Boys" hundreds of miles through the southern Sudan desert to the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. Relocated to Rochester NY USA in 1996, he now leads Water For South Sudan.[1]


Salva Dut founded Water For South Sudan in 2003 as a non-profit organization. In 2005, drilling operations began. Five wells were drilled in Sudanese villages in the first year. Since then, over 300[2] wells have been drilled, each serving approximately 1,000-1,500 people.[3] It costs WFSS approximately $15,000 per well which includes ALL costs related to drilling such as overhead (less than 20%).

People in the villages where (WFSS) operates become partners in the process of making safe, drinkable water available there. Villagers provide sweat equity labor, and village elders help determine a well’s location and appoint one of their people to maintain the completed well and its pump. The WFSS team trains the well manager and provides spare parts.[4]


Drilling teams may operate in remote villages both west and east of the White Nile river which bisects South Sudan.[5]

Drilling a borehole, often hundreds of feet deep to reach the aquifer’s water, is a technical challenge. That challenge is magnified by the remote nature and harsh climate of the region. The drilling rig requires water to operate. Gravel of a certain size and shape for use in the borehole must be located. Compressed air must be available. Soil must be tested and retested to measure progress. Diesel fuel is required at all times as is a special polymer to keep the borehole intact until pipe is sunk for the well. And of course, the crew must be fed every day of the drilling season.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Salva's Story". Water For South Sudan. 
  2. ^ "WFSS Drills 300th Well in South Sudan!". Water For South Sudan. Retrieved 2018-05-24. 
  3. ^ "Drilling information" (PDF). Water For South Sudan. 
  4. ^ "Empowering Villages". Water For South Sudan. 
  5. ^ "Where Water For South Sudan drills". Water For South Sudan. 
  6. ^ "Drilling challenges". Water For South Sudan. 

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