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UNESCO maps groundwater in Horn of Africa

Kenya: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched Groundwater Resources Investigation for Drought mitigation in Africa project in Nairobi, Kenya. The project is getting support from the US Government and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). It aims to assure water in emergency situations in the Horn of Africa.

The USD 2 million project also aims to map out groundwater resources in drought-prone areas of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, study hydrological make up of the areas and build capacity of local expertise.

The groundwater survey will use the WATEX system developed by Radar Technologies International that will enable rapid precise groundwater assessment for large areas.

Prof Joseph Massaqquoi, Director of UNESCO’s science and technology for Africa, Nairobi office, said many of the region’s maps and information regarding groundwater are outdated and incomplete. Dr Alain Gachet, CEO Radar Technologies International said the project is taking advantage of satellite that orbits the earth daily. It shortens the time it takes to identify water resources as compared to the traditional hydrological methods.

Key activities of the eight-months-project are to use remote-sensing exploration technologies to assess groundwater resources, assess capacities and management, and undertake survey of ground water resources of the drought-prone areas.

According to john Rao Nyaoro, Director of Water Resources said that although Kenyan is known to be a water-scarce country, yet recent studies have shown that the country has 60 billion cubic metres groundwater resource. But the country does not know where this water is and the UNESCO-coordinated project like this might just provide the confirmatory test the country has been awaiting.

Source: NL-Aid