A massive aquifer that holds enough water to meet all of Kenya's needs for 70 years has been discovered, ITV News can reveal.
The pool, which was found more than 300 metres underground, is so large you could pour Loch Ness into it approximately 25 times.
What is an aquifer?
- It is an underground layer of water-bearing material, such as gravel, sand and silt.
- Water can be extracted from the materials by using a well.
The newly discovered Lotikipi Basin Aquifer could provide water to Kenya for 70 years.
But just as importantly the aquifer is replenished from distant mountains. So it should never run dry, assuming it is managed properly.
– ABOU AMANI, UNESCOWe now have a tool that could not only help Kenya, but it could help other countries facing the issues of water scarcity.
Lotikipi in numbers:
- The aquifer is approximately 100 km (62 miles) by 66 km (41 miles).
- It has a surface area of 4,164 km2.
- It contains an estimated 200 billion cubic metres of fresh water.
- Lotikipi alone holds 900% more than Kenya's current water reserves.
UNESCO and the Kenyan government - funded by Japan - have been using satellite, radar and geological technology in a bid to find supplies of water.
Earlier this year, they discovered five aquifers in north west Kenya and began exploratory drilling on two. As well as Lotikipi, a much smaller pool of water was found in Lodwar.
The discovery of Lotikipi will be officially announced on Wednesday (11 September) when the Kenyan government will also reveal how they plan to use the resource for the good of the country.
UNESCO is also exploring possible new water sources in other Africa countries such as South Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya.
Abou Amani, a UNESCO scientist who is part of the team who discovered the water told ITV News:
– ABOU AMANI, UNESCOI'm not saying this could solve all of the problems because from finding water to providing water to the population is another step because we need to have investment, we need to put in place infrastructure and so on.But we have seen the system and the fact water is there, and that is extremely important and it could be a game changer within the country.