Turkana Tale: Space Technology and Colossal Aquifers

During the better part of last week, the discovery of two aquifers in Turkana County, Kenya dominated the headlines of major global media outlets. These colossal underground water reserves (which have been confirmed by drilling) are estimated to contain a minimum of 250 billion cubic meters of water replenished annually at a rate of 3.4 billion cubic meters. The larger Lotikipi Basin Aquifer is estimated to hold 207 billion cubic meters of underground water and is staggeringly comparable in size to the US states of Delaware or Rhode Island. The smaller Lodwar Basin Aquifer contains an estimated water reserve of 10 billion cubic meters.

The amount of water discovered essentially guarantees Kenya’s entire water needs for over 70 years if no replenishment is considered! Therefore, practically, this single discovery has the potential to address the country’s water needs indefinitely as it is recharged with rainfall from Kenyan and Ugandan highlands at a rate of 3.4 billion cubic meters per year. This recharge rate is equal to the estimated current annual national water consumption.

This single discovery has the potential to not only change the fortunes of the desolate Turkana region, but the entire country too. If properly utilized, this vast water reserve will positively impact the lives of each citizen in the country.

These momentous discoveries would not have been possible without space-based technology. Employing proprietary cutting-edge space-based technologies, the US based natural resources exploration firm, Radar Technologies International made the discoveries. Space technology enabled rapid, precise exploration and mapping of hidden ground water using instruments on spacecraft flying more than 800 km above Kenya.

These recent developments unequivocally embolden our raison d’être for Kenya to urgently integrate sustainable space technology in her national development agenda.

As we previously stated, the reason why Kenya needs to urgently adopt space-based technology is;

…This specialized capability is inherently endowed to accelerate the realization of national sustainable development goals; expeditiously transforming Kenya into a newly industrialized country.

As clearly evident in the Turkana discovery, space technology inherently possessed the unique capability to rapidly and precisely explore and map hidden underground water.

We also asserted that the fundamental objective of the proposed Kenya space sector should be,

to expedite the national development agenda and lift the citizens out of poverty

Provision of clean water to all Kenyans is a national development agenda. Moreover, water uses such as irrigation, industrial use, recreational etc define the national development of a country. Therefore, the discovery of these vast underground water reserves should expedite national development and lift millions of Kenyans out of poverty. Space technology is hence indispensable in expeditiously achieving national development objectives.

Therefore, the time for Kenya to formally integrate sustainable space technology in its national development agenda is long overdue.

In the next post, we shall continue with “Phase 2” of the Kenya space sector road-map characterization.

6 thoughts on “Turkana Tale: Space Technology and Colossal Aquifers

  1. Very cool. I might visit this area soon, for the eclipse. Equatorial nations have another incredible natural resources that’s virtually unknown and underutilized: low equatorial orbits for remote sensing. You can pass over the same point every 90 minutes. With what’s learned from such missions, much might be done at other latitudes, with less frequent overflights.

    I’m particularly interested in what might be learned about how to predict, observe, and manage landslide/mudslide disasters, as I write here:


    These kill more people than most realize, and the knock-on effects from relocations and infrastructure disruption might be killing even more.

  2. “… If properly utilized …”

    That’s the rub, isn’t it? Much of East Africa agriculture is still rain-fed, and Kenya is no superstar when it comes to equitable infrastructure development. (Or maintenance. I thought the pot-holes on A2 from Nairobi to Nanyuku would be the death of me, more than once.)

    1. Yes Michael,
      “..If properly utilized…” is indeed the key phrase. It sums up the unfortunate state of curtailed transformation of Africa’s resources and potential to their deserving flourish.

      The historical, cultural, external, internal, political etc reasons responsible for this conundrum is indeed a topic for another forum.

      I also do think that relatively inexpensive missions (e.g. cubesats) to equatorial Low Earth Orbits with short re-visit times have a huge potential for disaster prediction, monitoring, response and mitigation. This space capability coupled with terrestrial sensor webs can indeed offer equatorial/African countries an effective disaster preparedness and management strategy.

      Apart from possessing short launch campaigns e.g. utilizing air-launched vehicles e.g Pegasus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pegasus_%28rocket%29); it should be possible to integrate new and inexpensive instruments on these platforms which could even work collaboratively in orbit.
      P. Waswa

  3. Comments by Ramadhani Barry Ayumba (Linkedin)
    lecturer and consultant surgeon at moi university school of medicine


    …hoping that the real beneficiary will be the Turu. Remember the story of oilfields…they are already sold; the fear is that the native is left poor- just like the nigerian situation! Where are we heading to?

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