Promotion of knowledge about the Nubian aquifer.

P. Aggarwal, Boussaha A. Promotion of knowledge about the Nubian aquifer.                   

1 September 2005.

The Nubian aquifer, shared by Chad, Egypt, Libya and Sudan, is important as a source of drinking water and irrigation. The ancient waters of the Nubian aquifer extends approximately two million square kilometers under the surface of these four countries in northeast Africa. The aquifer is a major source of drinking water and irrigation, and is the only source of fresh water in the western desert of Egypt, which covers about 67% of the total land area of ​​the country.

Since 2003, the IAEA has been assisting the countries sharing the Nubian Aquifer using isotope techniques in the mapping of water resources. So far we know that current climatic conditions, the groundwater aquifer recharge Nubia as a result of poorly infiltration of the Nile river waters in some areas, precipitation in some mountain regions and the groundwater flow system Blue Nile / Main Nile in the Rift Valley. The IAEA project aims to expand and consolidate knowledge  scientists and database on the Nubian Aquifer and develop a management plan based on a groundwater monitoring network of the aquifer. The establishment management structure of the aquifer will be an important contribution to the development of the region and over time will result in sustainable production of drinking water and in increasing agricultural production.

In 2003 the IAEA established a partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to develop a framework for sustainable management of the Nubian Aquifer using isotope hydrology. The IAEA’s work aimed at providing assistance to countries sharing the Nubian Aquifer in the study and management of shared groundwater supplies, recently received GEF, based in Washington D. C., a matching grant in the amount of a
million dollars, through the United Nations Program for Development. GEF funding will expand the scope of the cooperation program supported by the IAEA and allow countries that use the aquifer to develop an effective plan for managing groundwater.
Through these and other means, the science and applications of isotope hydrology are promoting the understanding of aquifer systems in the world. If you have the right information, you can make the right decisions to protect and preserve groundwater resources for the benefit of future generations.

Pradeep Aggarwal is Head of the Isotope Hydrology Section
Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications
IAEA. E-mail:

Boussaha Ali is Head of the Africa Section of the Department
Technical Cooperation. E-mail:

Taken from: P. Aggarwal, Boussaha A. Water known how. IAEA Bulletin 47 / 1 September 2005.

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