Researchers Discover Huge Underground Water Reserves In Africa

By Meera Dolasia on April 26, 2012

Word Search

While fresh water reserves are declining in many parts of the world, nowhere is the situation as dire as the continent of Africa where, over 300 million people have no access to safe drinking water and only 5% of the arable land is being irrigated.

Now, there is finally some good news - Researchers from the British Geological Survey and University of College London recently revealed the discovery of a large source of underground water, which hopefully will provide a buffer for the continent, during severe drought years.

According to the research team, while the 0.66 million cubic kilometers of underground reserves are spread across the continent, a bulk of them are located in aquifers under some of the Africa's most arid countries - Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Chad and Sudan. While that may not sound like a lot of water, it is 100 times more than that currently found on the ground.

The researchers who put together this data by gleaning over maps based on hundreds of government geological and aquifer studies, believe that most of the water accumulated about five thousand years ago, when the region was much wetter.

While this is tremendously encouraging news, there are many hurdles to accessing this water. First and foremost, there is the issue of distance - A lot of the underground reserves are about seventy-five meters deep, and therefore, impossible to extract by digging small boreholes and drawing it up with the help of hand pumps. While large commercial drilling projects could do the job, it is expensive and experts worry that they could rapidly deplete all the water, leaving the continent in an even worse situation, given that they would never get replenished.

Also, there is the question of the quality of the water - The researchers have no idea if the water is contaminated or possibly even salty. Having said that, some of the water is on higher ground and could provide a lifeline for some communities when things get really bad, since it can be drawn up using affordable hand pumps.

Experts from the United Nations Environmental Program are therefore urging African countries not to even attempt to access this newly found reserves but instead, focus on improving the ground water supply by creating better collection and storage tools. According their spokesperson, Nick Nutalli, there is currently a lot of water available, but it is rarely collected. Hopefully, things will change in the near future.


Share by EmailShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TwitterShare on tumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on PinterestShare on RedditShare on Edmodo
to use your custom avatar.
  • rad manFriday, November 14, 2014 at 6:34 am
    it is cool
    • alaFriday, November 14, 2014 at 6:33 am
      it was fun using it for my projet on water in afica
      • orlandoTuesday, March 18, 2014 at 7:31 am
        this will help me
        • jayWednesday, March 5, 2014 at 6:38 am
          • banana blowTuesday, February 11, 2014 at 11:41 am
            • awsomeTuesday, February 11, 2014 at 11:40 am
              Cool article!
              • readTuesday, February 11, 2014 at 11:35 am
                like the info
                • Bow WoWThursday, February 6, 2014 at 2:12 pm
                  thanks alot for the info, it helps me alot on my current evet homework!!:):):):):):)
                  • Katie Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 9:32 am
                    i use this for homework too
                    • whoThursday, February 6, 2014 at 9:31 am
                      i used this for home work tooo





                      Most Popular Articles

                      Video Of The Week - Moritz The Puzzle-Solving Pig
                      Butterfly Wings: More Than Meets the Eye
                      White And Gold Or Blue And Black? The Great Dress Debate!
                      Surprise! Your Dog Can Tell If You Are Happy Or Angry
                      Minecraft As A Mandatory Subject In School? Sweet!
                      Boo Mania Sweeps Over America (And The World)!
                      Video Of The Week - If Frozen Was A Horror Movie . . .
                      Are You Ready To 'Gangnam Style'?

                      Recent Comments

                      vn256 wrote:

                      I hope it works I LOVE chocolate
                      Can "Operation Wonka" Save The W...

                      penguin164 wrote:

                      I so want to live there
                      Finland Schools To Test Teaching...

                      Rohit wrote:

                      it is really really really funny...
                      It's April Fool's Day - Watch Ou...