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IAEA project maps groundwater reserves in Africa’s Sahel region

Spreading over a 7-million square kilometre area, the Sahel is home to 135 million people across West, Central and North Africa. The area has suffered from extreme drought in recent decades, affecting agriculture and causing widespread hunger. Without many rivers to draw water from, groundwater systems are the region’s main source of fresh water.


An IAEA project now shows that significant reserves of good quality water are available in Africa’s drought-prone Sahel region.

The findings are the result of a four-year effort to help 13 countries use isotopic techniques to assess groundwater origin and quality in five shared aquifers and basins, providing the first broad overview of the region’s groundwater supplies.

The data gathered has so far provided valuable information for the participating countries, including origin and flow patterns between the different aquifers and contamination levels in the basins. The isotope studies also confirmed the existence of large quantities of good quality groundwater suitable for human consumption, in several parts of the project area.

Read the full IAEA story here.

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