Huge water source discovered in Kenya

13th Sep 2013

People of Kenya - thought to have been home to the earliest humans - have been given new hope by the discovery of a massive new underground water source.

The Kenyan government says the discovery in the Turkana region of northern Kenya could help keep water supplies running for 70 years.

The area in the Kenyan Rift Valley is among the hottest and driest in the country but is also home to the Lake Turkana National Parks, a group of three parks which have been listed as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations' Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). They comprise Sibiloi, Central Island and South Island National Parks, which are known for their crocodiles.

In the 1970s archaeologists carrying out excavations around Lake Turkana unearthed fossilised human skulls dating back two million years and thought to be the oldest ever found.

As well as archaeology Kenya is hugely popular with tourists flocking there for beach, safari and trekking holidays.

The Lotikipi Basin Aquifer water source discovery was made using satellites and radar equipment. It is thought to contain around 200 billion cubic litres of water. Last year scientists released a map detailing the vast reservoirs that had been detected under much of the African continent. Another water source has been found in Namibia, Africa's driest country.

Kenya's environment minister Judi Wakhungu announced the find at a UNESCO meeting. She said: "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."

According to UNESCO well over a third (17 million) of Kenya's 41 million people do not have access to safe drinking water.

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