Kenya has started drilling at newly discovered underground water reserves in the drought-hit north, which can supply the country for 70 years, Business Daily reported, citing Japheth Mutai, head of the Rift Valley Water Services Board.
The borehole-drilling program should produce four wells by the end of the year at a cost of 1 billion shillings ($12 million), with the state pledging 50 million shillings, the newspaper cited Mutai as saying.
The discovery in September of the two aquifers in Turkana county near the border with South Sudan contains at least 250 billion cubic meters of water, the newspaper said.
The United Nations estimates that 40 percent of the East African nation’s 41 million people don’t have access to safe drinking water and 28 million lack adequate sanitation.
Davis & Shirtliff Group, a Nairobi-based supplier of water-related equipment in East Africa, is leading the drilling program, which will involve pumping some of the water for use by local residents as early as next month, the newspaper said.
The Turkana region is where Tullow Oil Plc and its partner Africa Oil Corp. discovered Kenya’s first oil in 2012.