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Massive New Water Reserves Discovered In Kenya
September 11, 2013
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Test pumping at the Lodwar Aquifer (Photo: RTI)

Yesterday, we told you about an innovative technology being deployed in Kenya that harvests fog for clean drinking water. Today, more good news for the drought-stricken nation: two large underground reserves totalling at least 250 billion cubic metres of water have been found in the arid Turkana region, reports The Guardian.

The discovery was made by Radar Technologies International, a French water and mineral exploration firm, which was conducting a groundwater survey for the Kenyan government. The reserves replenish at a rate of about 3.4 billion cubic metres each year, fed mainly by rainfall in the Kenyan and Ugandan highlands. According to RTI, this could boost the country's available water by about 17 per cent.

The Turkana region, which is home to nearly a million people, has been hit especially hard by droughts. Brian McSorley, a water expert with Oxfam in Kenya, told the Guardian, "Many people have to live on around 10 litres of water a day... This is half the minimum daily requirement."

Alain Gachet, RTI's CEO, told The Verge that it's not unusual for the area's inhabitants to walk as far as 10 miles to find the closest source of drinking water. "They were dancing around, it was very, very emotional," Gachet said, following the discovery. "They were so happy to see water springing from the ground."

The discovery was made possible by RTI's WATEX mapping system, which combines information from radar imaging, satellite photography, climate maps and seismic data. "With this approach, we were able to peel back the surface of the earth like an onion," Gachet told The Guardian.

The WATEX survey of the Turkana region (Photo: RTI)

Promising as today's news is, Kenya still faces significant challenges in getting the water to its citizens: the Turkana region is remote and underdeveloped, according to The Guardian. Significant new infrastructure will have to be installed before the water from the two reserves makes it to the people who need it most.

Via The Guardian


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