Geophysical Studies to Improve Groundwater Resource Availability in the Kakuma Refugee Camp and Town Site
Geoscientists Without Borders
Water Management Projects
This geophysical program is intended to improve the water supply of the Kakuma Refugee Camp as well as the water supply in the immediate surrounding area.
The Kakuma Refugee Camp is located in the semi-arid Turkana County of northwestern Kenya. Turkana County is the largest and most impoverished county of Kenya, with a population of about 1,000,000. The Camp, which presently provides asylum to approximately 185,000 refugees from about 16 countries in East Africa, was designed for a Camp population of 100,000. The conflict in South Sudan resulted in more than 46,000 refugees coming to Kakuma since December, 2013. UNHCR is preparing to receive an additional 50,000 refugees in the near future, more than doubling the initial design capacity of the Camp.
Water supply, of course, is perhaps the critical material constraint on sustaining the Camp population, as well as expanding for the increasing population. UNHCR’s target provision of potable water is 20 liters per person. Presently, refugees are provided an average of 17 to 18 liters per person from 12 operating pumps. After chlorine treatment, water quality from a microbiological perspective is considered to be good, though fluoride concentrations are generally high, often several times WHO guidelines. Additionally, the Camp water supply is faced with the challenges of increasing salinity during drought conditions, an uneven geographical distribution of water wells, frequent well failures, dry or saline exploratory boreholes, and an incomplete understanding of the aquifer systems of the area.