Monday, September 23, 2013

Aquifers Found In Kenya

The Sahara, Kalahari and Namib, are three of the largest deserts in Africa, with the Namib Desert spanning an incredible 31,274 square miles of Southern Africa.  In recent news, satellite and advanced radar technology has detected two large aquifers throughout the Turkana and Lotikipi basins and another in Namibia, which is Sub-Saharan Africa's driest country.  In the Turkana region of Kenya, many areas have been hit extremely hard in recent years by drought, and have suffered economically due to the high population of nomadic herders, who depend on natural precipitation.  Once test drilling began, it was discovered that the aquifers were thought to contain up to 250bn cubic meters of water. 

Ms. Wakhungu, at a meeting of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO, was quoted saying, "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."  With debate rising as to the future of this water, many have begun to urge the government to engage in dialogues with local communities.  "We need to put in place a sound management system" stated Abou Amani, UNESCO's Africa Hydrologist.  The issue raised will now be deciding how this abundance of water will be managed, distributed and saved for future uses; whether they be industrial, agricultural or municipal.  "It is critical for governments to realize they don't...come up with programs without community ownership...and linking it to economic development."  Currently 17 million people of Kenya's 41 million total population, lack the ability to access safe water.  So the question presented, is not only how, but by whom Kenya will establish methods of managing such a quantity of water, found so suddenly.  This is certainly to be an extraordinary task with many facets to be considered along the way, as the plan is further developed.  Such an amazing find, with such incredibly possibilities for this region and all of Kenya.   

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