Kenya finds huge water reserve

A massive aquifer that holds enough water to meet all Kenya's needs for 70 years has been discovered, ITV News can reveal.

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Aquifer technology could help water shortage in Africa

A scientist who helped discover a huge water reserve beneath Kenya has told ITV News the technology involved could help tackle water shortages across Africa.

Dr Alain Gachet, from Radar Technologies International, said: "We are already going to change the economy of this area but we can also progressively change the economy of Kenya.

"If we can do it in Kenya, then we can do it everywhere else."

Aquifer discovery 'will help Kenya's most vulnerable'

A Kenyan government minister has hailed the discovery of a huge water reserve in the country, saying it will help the most vulnerable in society.

A child in the Kakuma refugee camp, which is close to the Lotikipi Basin Aquifer. Credit: ITV News

Professor Judi Wakhungu, Environment, Water and Natural Sciences Secretary, said: "This wealth of water could boost the country's share of available water by 8.5% and probably double the amount of water that is available for consumption today."

She added: "The significance of this survey and its findings cannot be overstated.

"Accessibility to water and improved social and economic life is destined for improvement, especially for the most vulnerable of the population in Kenya."

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Water discovery will mean 'prosperous Kenya future'

The discovery of a large underground water reserve in Kenya could pave the wave the way for a more "prosperous future" for the country, scientists have said.

Water from the underground reserve comes out of a pipe in Lotikipi. Credit: UNESCO

Professor Judi Wakhungu, of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources in Kenya, said: "The news about these water reserves comes at a time when reliable water supplies are highly needed.

"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,” she said.

The science behind the discovery

The project to find water in Kenya has been the brainchild of French scientist, Alain Gachet, who previously developed a system using satellite imagery, radar and geological surveys to pinpoint oil under the ground.

Having applied the same technology to find water in Kenya, three large aquifers were discovered – enough to meet all of Kenya’s needs for 70 years.

ITV News Correspondent Martin Geissler explains more:

Aquifer has 25 times more water than Loch Ness

The water reserve discovered in Kenya is one of the largest aquifers in Africa - here is a look at how large it is:

  • The pool is so large you could pour Loch Ness into it approximately 25 times.
  • The aquifer is approximately 100 km (62 miles) by 66 km (41 miles).
  • It contains an estimated 200 billion cubic metres of fresh water.
  • Lotikipi alone holds 900% more than Kenya's current water reserves.
  • It has a surface area of 4,164 km2.

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Aquifer could meet Kenya's water needs for 70 years

A reserve that holds enough water to meet all of Kenya's needs for 70 years has been discovered, ITV News can reveal.

The Lotikipi aquifer is much larger than the other four discovered in north west Kenya Credit: UNESCO

The Lotikipi Basin Aquifer was one of five pools found in the north west of Kenya but is by far the largest.

It is also a reusable source - meaning it could help solve the country's water woes for many decades to come.

UNESCO and the Kenyan government - funded by Japan - have been using satellite, radar and geological technology in a bid to find new supplies of water.

What is an aquifer?

A huge aquifer has been discovered in Kenya, which could meet the country's water needs for 70 years but what is an aquifer?

  • It is an underground layer of water-bearing material, such as gravel, sand and silt.
  • Water can be extracted from the materials by using a well.
  • The Ogallala Aquifer in the United States is one of the largest water reserves, covering portions of eight states.
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