Written by LILIAN ONYANGO for DAILY NATION
WATERS GUSHING OUT IN TURKANA WATER RESERVE WATERS GUSHING OUT IN TURKANA WATER RESERVE DAILY NATION
This is the second major natural resource discovery in Turkana after oil which was announced in March 2012. Results of a groundwater study show that Northern-Central Turkana is home to a reserve of 250 billion cubic metres of water.
The water is naturally refilled at the rate of about 3.4 billion cubic metres per year. This finding, according to the government study, can heighten the country’s share of accessible water by 8.5 per cent.
It is also likely to double the amount of water that is available for consumption today – ultimately improving the lives of Kenyans living in water scarce areas.
According to Director of Water Resources in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources John Nyaoro, Turkana residents will enjoy the newly discovered resource in the next two months.
The study was undertaken by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and conducted by Radar Technologies International and the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources and other agencies.
It found two major aquifers – bodies of permeable rock through which water can readily move – which were not previously exploited.
“We have drilled the aquifers, done test pumping and also found that the quality of water is fit for human use. These boreholes will be equipped as soon as possible and the people will also be able to use the water for domestic irrigation,” Mr Nyaoro said.
Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry Judy Wakhungu announced the results of the study while officiating at the Unesco Strategic and High Level Meeting on Water Security and Cooperation at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies, Nairobi on Wednesday.
“The significance of this is the potential to enhance groundwater development in Turkana and therefore positioning the government to better respond to the needs of the people, not only in Turkana and other Arid and Semi-Arid Lands areas, but the entire nation,” she said.
The Lotikipi Basin Aquifer System, one of the two reservoirs, is located between Lokichogio and Lokitaung. The sedimentary aquifer has an estimated 207 billion cubic metres of water of freshwater reserves.
“The potential volume of water is comparable to the volume of water in the nearby Lake Turkana,” Prof Wakhungu explained.
Mr Nyaoro said the ministry plans to dig several boreholes on the aquifer and even explore the possibility of creating a man-made river on it.
The other, Lodwar Basin Aquifer, is situated 16 kilometres from Lodwar town and can supply the town and is fed in part by the Turkwel River.
Later, Mr Nyaoro said, the sites will be handed over to the Rift Valley Water Services Board to manage.