Experts find more groundwater in arid counties

Camels seek for pastures in Moyale in Marsabit County [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

Experts have found additional water sources in the 250 billion cubic metres Lotikipi Aquifer in Turkana and Marsabit counties.

The findings were revealed during this year’s World Water Day on Tuesday.

Mr Saud Amer, a US geospatial surveyor, said USAID and the Ministry of Water have mapped out areas with fresh water in the aquifers.

“Over 70 per cent of the rural population in Kenya depends on groundwater for their domestic water needs. There is also increasing use of groundwater for economic activities such as irrigation, fisheries, mining and industry,” he said.

The aquifers could end water shortage in the two drought-prone counties, he added.

“There is a big potential of water resources in Turkana. There are a lot of water resources. Before drilling, we have to know what we are doing because groundwater is your savings account,” he said.

In January, the government said it was not viable to drill water from the Lotikipi aquifer because of its salinity.

But the Turkana County administration described the national government’s report on one of the world’s largest aquifers as inaccurate.

Deputy Governor Mr Peter Lotethiro said the declaration of had driven away potential investors and development partners.

“The county government is now ready to go to Lotikipi aquifer, in collaboration with the University of Nairobi and Oxford University, to map out the areas with saline water and we can start drilling,” he said.

Mr Gichangi Wotuku, the director of groundwater in the Ministry of Water, said further exploration would be conducted.