How a satellite found water, or the WATEX system for finding water

In the depths of the Kenyan savannas, one of the largest sources of fresh water in the world was found. The volume of aquifers is estimated at 200.000 km3, which is 10 times larger than the largest fresh water reservoir on Earth – Lake Baikal. It’s amazing that such “wealth” is right under your feet in one of the driest countries in the world. The population of Kenya is 44 million people – almost all of them do not have clean drinking water. Of these, 17 million do not have a permanent source of drinking water, and the rest experience unsanitary problems due to dirty water. In sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 340 million people lack access to safe drinking water. In settlements where half a billion Africans live, there are no normal treatment facilities. The discovered aquifer of Lotikipi not only contains a volume of water capable of supplying the entire country – it is replenished every year by an additional 1,2 km3. A real salvation for the state! And it was possible to find it with the help of space satellites.

In 2013, Radar Technologies International implemented its project on the use of the WATEX mapping system to search for water. Previously, such technologies were used for mineral exploration. The experiment turned out to be so successful that UNESCO plans to adopt the system and start searching for drinking water in problem regions of the world.

WATEX System. General information

The technology is a hydrological tool designed to detect groundwater in arid regions. According to its principles, it is a geoscanner that is capable of providing a detailed analysis of the country’s surface in a couple of weeks. WATEX cannot see water, but it detects its presence. In the process of operation, the system forms a multi-layered information base, which includes data on geomorphology, geology, hydrology of the research region, as well as information on climate, topography and land use. All these parameters are combined into a single project, which is associated with a map of the territory. After creating a powerful database of initial data, the operation of the radar system, which is installed on the satellite, begins. The WATEX space segment conducts a thorough study of a specific region. The work is based on the emission of waves of different lengths and the collection of results. The emitted beam, upon contact with the surface, can penetrate to a predetermined depth. Returning to the satellite receiver, it carries information about the spatial position of the point, the nature of the soil and the presence of various elements. If there is water in the ground, then the indicators of the reflected beam will have certain deviations – this is a signal for highlighting the zone of water distribution. As a result, the satellite provides up-to-date data that is integrated with the existing map.

The company’s specialists, by analyzing the data received, compile a detailed report. The maps determine the places where water is present, its approximate volumes and depth of occurrence. If you get away from scientific terminology, then the scanner allows you to see what is happening under the surface, as the scanner at the airport “looks” into the bags of passengers. Today, the advantages of WATEX are confirmed by numerous tests. The technology is being used to search for water in Ethiopia, Chad, Darfur and Afghanistan. The accuracy of determining the presence of water and drawing underground sources on the map is 94%. There has never been such a result in the history of mankind. The satellite can indicate the spatial position of the aquifer with an accuracy of 6,25 meters in the planned position.

WATEX is recognized by UNESCO, the USGS, the US Congress and the European Union as a unique method for mapping and defining groundwater resources over large areas. The system can detect the presence of large aquifers down to a depth of 4 km. Integration with data from many disciplines allows you to obtain complex maps with high detail and reliability. – work with a large amount of information; – coverage of a large area in the shortest possible time; – low costs, taking into account the results obtained; – unlimited possibilities for modeling and planning; – drawing up recommendations for drilling; – high drilling efficiency.

Project in Kenya

The aquifer of Lotikipi, without exaggeration, is a salvation for the country. Its discovery determines the sustainable development of the region and the state as a whole. The water depth is 300 meters, which, given the current level of drilling development, is not difficult to extract. With the proper use of natural wealth, the horizon is potentially inexhaustible – its reserves are replenished due to the melting of snow on the tops of the mountains, as well as the concentration of moisture from the bowels of the earth. The work that was carried out in 2013 was carried out on behalf of the Government of Kenya, representatives of the UN and UNESCO. Japan provided assistance in financing the project.

President of Radar Technologies International Alain Gachet (in fact, it was this man who found the water for Kenya – what is the reason for the nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize?) Is convinced that there are impressive reserves of drinking water under most of the African continent. The problem of finding them remains – which is what WATEX works for. Judy Wohangu, Kenyan Ministry of Research and Environment Specialist, commented on the work: “This newly discovered wealth opens the door to a more prosperous future for the people of Terkan and for the country as a whole. We must now work to explore these resources responsibly and safeguard them for future generations.” The use of satellite technologies guarantees high accuracy and speed of search operations. Every year such methods are introduced into life more and more actively. Who knows, maybe in the near future they will play a decisive role in the struggle for survival…

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