Geologists first published map of underground water in Africa: the big surprises

19/12/2012

 

Deep in Africa, in one of the driest places on our planet are areas of huge reserves of water — fresh water aquifers containing 60 times more water than all the American Great Lakes combined.
 

These aquifers have a size of about 410,000 cubic miles, and contain 100 times more fresh water than the existing stock on the surface of the continent. And, as the population of Africa is rapidly increasing, these aquifers can be used to increase food production, reducing the impact of climate change and significantly reduce poverty. And this is their critical.
In the image above, from the World Policy Journal, shows these water resources, along with the regions, where drought has historically evolved, in an attempt to determine the enormous potential of this vital resource. However, these resources may be used only in the long term.

Alan McDonald, a hydrogeologist from the British Geological Survey and lead author of the study of groundwater explains that these waters are not "treasures that need to lash out," but instead must find smaller aquifers and use them. Water reserves the Sahara are deep underground, making them very expensive water to extract and deliver to the destination. In addition, in contrast to their "cousins" on the surface, these aquifers are not renewable — they will not recover for 5,000 years.

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