What's the Latest Development?
Using radar, satellites, and test drills, scientists have confirmed the existence of two giant aquifers beneath the Turkana and Lotikipi basins in northern Kenya, which together contain an estimated 250 billion cubic liters of water. The news comes a year after the already-arid area suffered a devastating drought, leaving its nomadic herder inhabitants even more vulnerable. In announcing the discovery at a UNESCO meeting in London, environment minister Judi Wakhungu 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." The water should be available in the next month.
What's the Big Idea?
The key thing now is to make sure that "a sound management system" is in place, according to UNESCO hydrologist Abou Amani. Just over 40 percent of Kenya's population lacks access to safe water, and the people of the Turkana region have always felt especially marginalized by the central government. Friends of Lake Turkana leader Ikal Anglei stressed the need for "governments to realise they don't… come up with programmes without community ownership… and linking it to economic development." In addition to the newly discovered water, massive oil deposits have been found in the area.
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