Huge underground water supply discovered in Turkana

September 12, 2013

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Two aquifers have been found in Kenya's far north Turkana region, the Kenyan government and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) announced Wednesday (September 11th).

The find, made using advanced satellite exploration technology and backed by UNESCO drilling, has been hailed as a scientific breakthrough that could radically change the lives of 500,000 people living in one of the world's most arid regions, where a devastating drought pushed malnutrition rates up to 37% two years ago, AFP reported.

"The news about these water reserves comes at a time when reliable water supplies are highly needed," said Secretary of Environment, Water and Natural Resources Judi Wakhungu at the start of a water security conference in Nairobi. "This newly found wealth of water opens a door to a more prosperous future for the people of Turkana and the nation as a whole. We must now work to further explore these resources responsibly and safeguard them for future generations."

Radar Technologies International, the firm that carried out the survey, said the area hosts a minimum reserve of 250 billion cubic meters of water, which is recharged yearly at a rate of 3.4 billion cubic meters.

The larger find, the Lotikipi Basin Aquifer, is located west of Lake Turkana, while the smaller Lodwar Basin Aquifer could feed the regional capital of Lodwar -- although UNESCO cautioned that water quality still needed to be assessed.

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