RSS

The Bulletin

Massive water supply discovered in dry Kenyan region

Posting in Sustainability

Oil and gas companies aren't the only ones benefitting from improved satellite technology that can spot natural resources deep underground. Now a dry region in Kenya could also be a beneficiary.

An estimated 250 billion cubic meters of underground water in the semi-arid Turkana region in northwest Kenya were recently discovered using satellite technology from Radar Technologies International, a natural resources exploration firm. As Alain Gachet, Radar Technologies International founder told The Guardian:

"We processed imagery from the [s]pace shuttle," Gachet said. "This allowed us to build up a detailed surface map. Then we interpreted radar imagery from the Japanese space agency and deep seismic data from the oil industry. With this approach, we were able to peel back the surface of the earth like an onion."

The region is home to about 700,000 people living on just 10 liters of water per day, less than half the daily requirement.

While it is still undetermined if the water is drinkable, according to New Scientist, the key, if it is, will be to tap the aquifers sustainably and extract the water at a lower rate than the aquifers can replenish. Fortunately, the aquifers replenish at a rate of 3.4 billion cubic meters per year, more than the entire country uses in a year. Using the aquifers at a sustainable rate can support 40 million people.

Photo: Flickr/the apostrophe

— By on September 11, 2013, 6:53 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure