In this 2011 photo, people of Turkana wait to receive food during a famine. With the new discovery, scenes like this may be a thing of the past, at least for this part of Kenya.
United Nations and Kenyan officials recently made a remarkable announcement about a find in Turkana County, northwestern Kenya. Five huge aquifers, or underground reservoirs, that hold some 66 trillion gallons of water have been discovered beneath the often drought-plagued region. The discovery was made by advanced satellite technology. Two of the aquifers were then confirmed by drilling into the groundwater layer. The resource will make a dramatic impact on the lives of people in Turkana. Besides having reliable drinking water, they will be able to irrigate farms and water their livestock. Improvements in Turkana could boost the economic condition of the entire country.
Like much of Africa, Kenya is troubled by a shortage of clean water. Of its more than 43 million people, almost half lack access to safe water, and, largely as a result, more than half lack adequate sanitation. Water shortages have a severe impact on agriculture and livestock raising. When crops fail and livestock suffer, malnutrition stalks the people. Moreover, the Turkana region has experienced outbreaks of violence as people compete for scarce natural resources. Cattle raids are a particular problem.
Africa is not alone in its water struggles. Around the world, more and more people face water shortages, as overpopulation, pollution, chronic drought, and warmer temperatures take their toll on surface and groundwater supplies. Political conflicts and lack of funds for infrastructure compound the problems. Some observers fear that future wars will be fought over access to fresh water. Perhaps technology will be able to find additional aquifers in other areas, as it has to Kenya’s great relief.
Image credit: © Tobin Jones/AP Images
- Kenya Aquifers Discovered in Dry Turkana Region
Read the good news about the discovery, and scroll through pictures of the region.
(Source: BBC News, September 11, 2013)
- Water Scarcity
Get an overview of the global water crisis here. The site includes many links to other sites and sources.
(Source: Wikipedia; accessed September 30, 2013)
- World Water Crisis
Click on the map to read about some of the places having water crises.
(Source: BBC News; accessed September 30, 2013)
- Hot Issues: Water Scarcity
Learn more about how water and poverty are related.
(Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN; accessed September 30, 2013)
UNESCO is the United Nations agency that contributed to the aquifers’ discovery. Visit the UNESCO website for more information on the agency’s work around the world.
(Source: UNESCO; accessed September 30, 2013)