As you know, I tend to blather on a little about water. Especially drinking water.  Clean, fresh drinking water in Africa, where millions of people don’t have access to the life giving stuff as we do. It all seems a bit negative, but that isn’t really the case.

I came across these two articles recently.

The first, from The Daily Mail, said:

Huge reserves of underground water in some of the driest parts of Africa could provide a buffer against the effects of climate change for years to come, scientists said.

Researchers from the British Geological Survey and University College London have for the first time mapped the aquifers, or groundwater, across the continent and the amount they hold.

‘The largest groundwater volumes are found in the large sedimentary aquifers in the North African countries Libya, Algeria, Egypt and Sudan,’ the scientists said in their paper.’

The other, from The Telegraph, said:

‘Scientists using technology developed to search for oil have discovered a vast underground water reservoir in one of Kenya’s driest regions that if properly managed could supply the country’s needs for close to 70 years.

Researchers from a French-American firm, Radar Technologies International, worked with the Kenyan government and UNESCO to layer satellite, radar and geological maps on top of each other, and then used seismic techniques developed to find oil to identify the reservoir.

It lies in Kenya’s extreme northwest, close to its borders with South Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda. The area is sparsely populated and prone to conflict over existing scarce resources.’

See, now, this is actually marvellous news, but with this, a word of caution:

“But knowing there’s water there, and then getting it to the surface, are two different things …” Brian McSorley, a water expert at Oxfam in Nairobi, said.

And therein lies the rub. Deep down underground there is potable water – even in the Sahara Desert – but reaching it can be problematic.

That’s why sustainable, practical and cost effective solutions are important. One such solution that has been in operation for a number of years now, addressing this exact problem, can be found through The Africa Trust. A charity started by AquAid and Ian Thorpe. One of the many solutions that The Africa Trust provides is the building of Elephant Pumps throughout disadvantaged communities throughout Africa.

No, they don’t use real elephants. The Elephant Pump is a well based on an ancient Chinese design. The pump has been adapted to make it stronger, more durable and made and maintained using materials that are locally available in remote rural sub-Saharan African communities.