Nairobi, 11 September – Large underground water reserves have been found in Turkana, one of Kenya’s driest and poorest regions. The discoveries were made by the natural resources exploration firm, Radar Technologies International, during the course of a survey of groundwater conducted for the Kenyan Government on behalf of the UN. The aquifers were detected with the WATEX System, RTI’s state-of-the-art, space-based exploration technology.
Both shallow and deep aquifers were surveyed across northern and central Turkana County in an effort to identify supplies to combat drought and water scarcity for the 2 million people living in the region.
Overall, the RTI study found that Turkana hosts a minimum reserve of 250 billion cubic meters of water, which is recharged mainly by the rainfalls of the Kenyan and Ugandan highlands at a rate of 3.4 billion cubic meters per year. This new wealth of water could boost Kenya's share of available water by 17% and alone represents nearly double the amount of water that Kenyans consume today. This groundwater raises the prospect for improving the livelihoods of the Turkana people, most of whom live in poverty and have limited access to basic services and clean water.
Two major aquifers have been recorded and proven by drilling. The large Lotikipi Basin Aquifer is estimated to store 207 billion cubic meters of water, the same volume of the nearby Lake Turkana. About the size of the US state of Rhode Island, the aquifer replenishes at a rate of 1.2 billion cubic meters a year. This paleo lake could be part of the “Land of Marvels”, the ancient sources of the Nile that were explored by Queen Hatshepsut some 3,500 years ago.
The Lodwar Basin Aquifer, is situated within a short distance of Lodwar town and Turkana’s oil reserves. It is fed by the perennial Turkwel River and has an estimated reserve of 10 billion cubic meters. RTI recorded three other large structures – Gatome, Kachoda and Nakalale – which could prove to store an combined 30 billion cubic meters once confirmed by drilling.
In addition to deep reserves, RTI also mapped 2 billion cubic meters of water passing only a few meters under the ground and easy to reach, significantly raising the prospect for local agriculture activities.
Looking ahead, RTI has recommended that all measures be taken to ensure the sustainability and viability of these newly discovered resources. RTI’s work also establishes a new basis upon which future investigations and mapping in Kenya can be based.
The WATEX System detects water with its unique method of processing and interpreting remote sensing, oil industry and conventional data. The WATEX maps have a 6.25-meter surface accuracy and have been proven to locate underground water with over 94% certainty in many areas. Known for its rapid and large-scale mapping capabilities, the WATEX has been utilized in a number of countries to find water for international aid agencies and foreign governments, most recently in Ethiopia, Angola, Chad, Darfur and Afghanistan. During the Darfur Crisis, RTI used the WATEX to find water for thousands of Sudanese refugees. Its partners have used WATEX groundwater maps to drill over 1,500 wells to help alleviate the crisis in Darfur. Today in Turkana, the maps are already being used to supply water to refugees in Kakuma.
RTI is a boutique international exploration firm that provides cutting-edge intelligence on water, mineral and petroleum resources to a wide range of clients, including the United Nations, national governments and the oil and mining industries. It delivers a range of tools, such as high-precision maps, navigation devices, coaching and tailored analysis to help clients unlock the potential of the natural resources they seek to develop.