Water is Earth's most essential natural resource, transforming what would otherwise be an inhospitable rock into a planet teeming with life. In the arid plains of Kenya, however, the resource has long been in short supply as nearly half the population is without reliable access to clean water.
But an incredible find is set to change all that, potentially saving countless lives and improving millions more.
Kenya's Environment Minister Judi Wakhungu recently announced the discovery of an enormous underground water reserve in the country's drought-stricken northwestern Turkana region. The large aquifer, found in the Lotikipi Basin, is believed to contain 200 billion cubic meters of fresh water -- ten times more water than Kenya's current supply.
If estimates are correct, this would be a large enough reserve to fulfill all of Kenya's water needs for 70 years!
The aquifer was discovered by analyzing data from a layering satellite, radar, and geological maps in partnership with Unesco. For a region plagued with water insecurity and projected shortfalls over the coming decades, the finding has been called a "game changer" for the future of Kenya.
“The news about these water reserves comes at a time when reliable water supplies are highly needed,” says Judi Wakhungu of Kenya's environment, water and natural resources ministry.
“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.”