Ground-water geology of Kordofan Province, Sudan

Water Supply Paper 1757-J

, , and



For much of Kordofan Province, surface-water supplies collected and stored in hafirs, fulas, and tebeldi trees are almost completely appropriated for present needs, and water from wells must serve as the base for future economic and cultural development. This report describes the results of a reconnaissance hydrogeologic investigation of the Province and the nature and distribution of the ground-water resources with respect to their availability for development. Kordofan Province, in central Sudan, lies within the White Nile-Nile River drainage basin. The land surface is largely a plain of low relief; jebels (hills) occur sporadically, and sandy soils are common in most areas except in the south where clayey soils predominate. Seasonal rainfall, ranging from less than 100 millimeters in the north to about 800 millimeters in the south, occurs almost entirely during the summer months, but little runoff ever reaches the Nile or White Nile Rivers. The rocks beneath the surficial depsits (Pleistocene to Recent) in the Province comprise the basement complex (Precambrian), Nawa Series (upper Paleozoic), Nubian Series (Mesozoic), laterite (lower to middle Tertiary), and the Umm Ruwaba Series (Pliocene to Pleistocene). Perennial ground-water supplies in the Province are found chiefly in five hydrologic units, each having distinct geologic or hydrologic characteristics. These units occur in Nubian or Umm Ruwaba strata or both, and the sandstone and conglomerate beds form the :principal aquifers. The water is generally under slight artesian head, and the upper surface of the zone of saturation ranges from about 50 meters to 160 meters below land surface. The surficial deposits and basement rocks are generally poor sources of ground water in most of the Province. Supplies from such sources are commonly temporary and may dissipate entirely during the dry season. Locally, however, perennial supplies are obtained from the surficial deposits and from the basement rocks. Generally, water from Nubian aquifers is satisfactory for most uses and is of better quality than that obtained from Umm Ruwaba aquifers. The relatively high mineralization of water from the Umm Ruwaba, especially in the eastern part of the Province, makes the water unsuitable for many municipal ad industrial uses. The water is generally usable, however, for domestic and livestock purposes. Some 175 drilled wells located at 75 water yards yield an average, of about 1,000 imperial gallons .per hour per well from Nubian or Umm Ruwaba. aquifers. Generally the water yards provide sufficient water for minimum domestic and livestock requirements throughout the year. Commonly, however, the water yards are widely separated and, hence, not always properly spaced for good range management or for serving the needs of the dispersed rural population. In 1962, withdrawals from Nubian and Umm Ruwaba aquifers in the Province were approximately 600 million gallons annually. This rate of draft: could probably be continued almost indefinitely without significant depletion of the water supply. Nubian and Umm Ruwaba aquifers in the southwestern part of Kordofan offer excellent potential for future development. Nubian aquifers in northern Kordofan need extensive exploration by test drilling before their economic potential can be properly evaluated.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Ground-water geology of Kordofan Province, Sudan
Series title:
Water Supply Paper
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. G.P.O.,
iv, 48 p. :ill., maps ;24 cm.