Africa Groundwater Maps Could Help Improve Access To Water

Staff Writer | Huffington Post | April 20, 2012

Access to clean water remains a problem for millions in Africa, but new research suggests that there may be hope. Researchers from the British Geological Survey and University College London have mapped the quantity and potential yield of groundwater across the entire continent, explained PhysOrg.

They estimate that Africa's groundwater totals about 0.66 million cubic kilometers, which means the continent has over 100 times more water underground than on the surface. The study's authors calculated the groundwater using a database they compiled of "existing national hydrogeological maps as well as 283 aquifer studies from 152 publications."

The vast quantity of water could mean the potential for relief for the estimated 300 million Africans lacking access to safe drinking water, but it may not be easy. Reuters notes that the groundwater reserves are "no panacea" for Africa, but they could help "to cope with an expected sharp increase in demand for water as the continent's population increases."