Sunday, 22 April 2012

Huge water reserve discovered under Africa

Despite accounting for 15% of the world population, Africa remains a largely third world continent and the population lives in poverty.

300 million people do not have access to safe drinking water, and that population continues to grow.

Researchers for UCL (University College of London) have mapped Africa and carried out continent wide analysis and discovered a basin on water (mostly in the Northern region) beneath the surface.

The total capacity of water is about 75m of thickness. When you relate that to the area of the top half of Africa,  the amount of water is huge.

Scientists say that the climate changes which created the Sahara desert pushed the water into the aquifers below, creating a vast resource of water hidden beneath the surface 5000 years ago.

The researchers confirmed this by relating to hydro-geographical maps of the continent.

What are aquifers?

  • Aquifers are a layer of permeable rock underground. 
  • They can hold water and are the basis of wells.
  • Like a giant sponge, they soak of ground water
Ground water is water which has trickled through gravel and soil and becomes deposited beneath the surface.

The catch

However scientists do not recommend drilling as the groundwater is not yet researched and must be tested.

If they give the all-clear, geologists say instead of large scale extraction, small scale sites should be established such as wells, as they are more efficient.

But also, rapid use of these aquifers will result in the deposits being rapidly depleted without any recovery.

However the future is still looking bright, as the UK government are hoping to set up a project to use this resource to aid some of the world's poorest people.

Please leave your comments below!


  1. I hope the UK gov't does't just "hope" and actually uses their power and influence to make something happen. This is fabulous news for Africa!

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