NAIROBI — The United Nations and Kenyan officials on Wednesday announced the discovery of a previously unknown but potentially enormous underground water supply, a find they said might improve the lives of generations of people in impoverished northern Kenya, if not the entire nation.
With water security a growing concern around the world, the discovery of five aquifers in drought-plagued Turkana County could help secure Kenya’s access to the most critical of natural resources, particularly in the country’s arid north. Of a total Kenyan population of roughly 41 million people, 17 million lack sufficient access to safe drinking water, and 28 million are without adequate sanitation, said the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
“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,” Judi Wakhungu, Kenya’s Cabinet secretary for the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, said in a UNESCO statement Wednesday. “We must now work to further explore these resources responsibly and safeguard them for future generations.”