“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, published on Friday.
They estimate that reserves of groundwater across the continent are 100 times the amount found on its surface, or 0.66 million cubic kilometres.
Writing in the journal Environmental Research Letters, they cautioned, though, that not all of the reserves are accessible.
Where they are, small-scale extraction by hand pump would be better than large-scale drilling projects, which could quickly deplete the reservoirs and have other unforeseen consequences.
Groundwater is no panacea for Africa’s water shortages but it could form an important part of a strategy to cope with an expected sharp increase in demand for water as the continent’s population increases.
Even now, some estimates put the number of Africans without access to safe drinking water at more than 300 million and only 5 per cent of arable land is irrigated.”
Read more: Aljazeera