Water Water Everywhere (and plenty to drink!)

Image courtesy of UNESCO/Nairobi OfficeWater

Today’s good news comes out of northern Kenya where two new aquifers were found in the arid Turkana and Lotikipi Basins.

The Turkana region has been an important region for evolutionary  anthropologists searching for early hominid remains. In 1984, the Turkana Boy, a nearly complete skeleton of a Homo erectus boy was discovered by Kamoya Kimeu. More recently, Meave Leakey discovered a 3.5 million-year-old skull there, named Kenyanthropus platyops, which means “the flat-faced man of Kenya”.

These aquifers have the potential to deter drought conditions for up to the next 70 YEARS. With proper management, the aquifer should theoretically never run dry because the distant mountains and water basins are predicted to replace the water at a recharge rate of 3.4 billion cubic meters/year. 

The aquifers are thought to hold some 250 billion cubic metres of water, some of the largest in the world.

Many of the region’s inhabitants are nomadic herder’s and susceptible to drought and famine, the most recent of which lasted between 2011-2012 and caused the deaths of upwards of 50,000 people.

An aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock or unconsolidated materials (gravel, sand, or silt) from which groundwater can be extracted using a water well. Here is a diagram of an aquifer:aquifer wll

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