Huge Aquifers Discovered in Kenya

ENVIRONMENT

Water sources discovered in the arid Turkana region of northern Kenya could supply the country for 70 years, the government says. (BBC)

Use our resources to better understand the long, strange history of the Turkana region.

Lesser flamingos feed in a pool along the shore of Lake Turkana, where enormous aquifers have been discovered deep underground. Photograph by Kenneth Garrett, National Geographic

Lesser flamingos feed in a pool along the shore of Lake Turkana, where aquifers have been discovered deep underground.
Photograph by Kenneth Garrett, National Geographic

Discussion Ideas

  • Enormous aquifers were discovered in northern Kenya, one of the driest places in sub-Saharan Africa. Why in the world are water resources so scarce when the region is home to Lake Turkana, one of the biggest lakes in eastern Africa? Read our article “Weird Waters” for a clue.
    • Lake Turkana is not a freshwater lake. In fact, it is one of the largest saline (salty) lakes in the world.
  • Look at some of the map layers explored in our “media spotlight” on the “Geography of Lake Turkana.” In particular, study the region’s climate zones, precipitation, and land-cover patterns. (You may need to adjust the transparency!) How do these map layers explain how the discovery of the aquifers is of such monumental importance for Kenya?
    • climate zones: The climate of northern Kenya is either semi-arid or humid, with a long dry season. The BBC article backs this up, reporting that the region is one of the driest in Kenya.
    • precipitation: Average annual rainfall in northern Kenya is very low, usually no more than 600 millimeters (60 centimeters, or 24 inches). A recent drought, the BBC reports, reduced this resource even further.
    • land cover: The region around Lake Turkana is dominated by bare ground, with very little vegetation to conserve moisture in the soil. The rest of northern Kenya is mostly made up of grasslands. The article says these areas are often used for herding. A small region in eastern Kenya is used for crops. Both herding and farming demand water for animals and irrigation purposes, putting a strain on water supplies.

Thanks to one of our favorite geographers, Emily, for the heads-up on this great current-event connection!

One response to “Huge Aquifers Discovered in Kenya

  1. Pingback: Kenya, Ethiopia Mediating on the deadly Dam on Omo River Water Controversy·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s