South Sudan’s operators, in collaboration with the country’s Ministry of Petroleum, are making efforts to improve environmental protections and performance in the country’s oil-rich regions through the implementation of several corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.
Notably, Malaysia’s Petronas (an investor in the joint operating companies) has contributed to both environmental and social development through the implementation of its Water for Life program, which seeks to expand clean water access for communities. The Water for Life project, a collaborative initiative with South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum and national NGO Nile Hope, commenced in 2018 and has continued to advance water accessibility, benefiting a significant portion of the population. With environmental deterioration evident in the country’s oilfields due to years of conflict and neglect, the project is critical to ensuring an effective, reliable and affordable water supply for surrounding communities in South Sudan.
A recent congratulatory statement from Village Leaders James Morobe Philemon and Mawa Moses Duku on March 10, 2021, emphasized the value of the program in mitigating drought impacts and promoting the use of safe drinking water through renewable energy. The joint statement by Philemon and Duku included an appeal to different stakeholders, donors, U.N. agencies, private sector parties, corporate entities and government authorities to follow Petronas’ example. The program capitalizes on South Sudan’s vast renewable resources as a means of pumping water for residents lacking a clean water supply. By using solar-powered, submersible pumps in rural areas of the country – which offer a more sustainable and reduced maintenance method – Petronas has expanded water supply and advanced the utilization of renewables in South Sudan’s energy mix. Steel water tank capacity measures up to 27,000 liters per day, the largest in Juba for communal usage.
The Water for Life program started in 2018 in which the first phase, completed in just four months, comprised the construction of six deep-water wells built in six locations in Juba, with 72 public taps available for more than 40,000 people. The second phase, completed in December 2019, comprised an additional five water wells in the surrounding area, in which another 25,000 people were able to take advantage of 60 additional taps. The third and fourth phases each saw the construction of two additional water wells, benefitting 10,000 and 12,000 people, respectively. To date, the program has resulted in the completion of 15 water wells over a period of three years, with more than 75,000 gaining access to clean water and improved living conditions.
The program is one of several CSR projects implemented with the support of the South Sudanese Government. By ensuring the consistent supply of high-quality, safe and clean water for all residents, South Sudan is significantly increasing both quality of life and health standards, in turn enabling socioeconomic growth, micro-entrepreneurship initiatives, and sustainable development in the process.