News has just broken that large underground water reserves containing a minimum of 250 billion cubic meters of water have been found in Turkana, one of Kenya’s driest and poorest regions.
Both shallow and deep aquifers were surveyed across northern and central Turkana County by natural resources exploration firm, Radar Technologies International (RTI). The work was conducted for the Kenyan Government on behalf of the UN in an effort to identify supplies to combat drought and water scarcity for the 2 million people living in the region. Most are herders who inevitably suffer when drought hits.
Judi Wakhungu, Kenya’s environment minister said at a UN meeting on 11 September, “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.”
The aquifers were detected using the WATEX System, RTI’s space-based exploration technology. According to the company, two major aquifers have now been recorded and proven by drilling.
The large Lotikipi Basin Aquifer is estimated to store 207 billion cubic meters of water, the same volume of the nearby Lake Turkana and estimated to be enough to keep Kenya in water for 70 years. About the size of the US state of Rhode Island, the aquifer replenishes at a rate of 1.2 billion cubic meters a year. This paleo lake could be part of the “Land of Marvels”, the ancient sources of the Nile that were explored by Queen Hatshepsut some 3,500 years ago.
The Lodwar Basin Aquifer, is situated within a short distance of Lodwar town and Turkana’s oil reserves. It is fed by the perennial Turkwel River and has an estimated reserve of 10 billion cubic meters.
RTI recorded three other large structures – Gatome, Kachoda and Nakalale – which could prove to store a combined 30 billion cubic meters once confirmed by drilling.
In addition to deep reserves, RTI also mapped 2 billion cubic meters of water passing only a few meters under the ground and easy to reach, significantly raising the prospect for local agriculture activities.