WATEX system set to fish out Africa’s hidden Groundwater Goodies
…. As RTI Exploration Drives the “Water for Peace” Paradigm
Story: Mohammed Abu
In March this year, the Representative of Public Affairs and Congress of the US Millennium Challenge Corporation(MCC) publicly announced that the French company RTI Exploration, after two years of research, had identified, from an innovative technology, about 50 billion m3 of available groundwater, with an annual recharge estimated at 2 billion m3.
This, historic discovery represents a volume of water almost ten times greater than that of Lake Chad, the country’s largest source of surface water after the Niger River. This revolutionary discovery makes Niger the most groundwater-rich country in the Sahel region.
This abundant groundwater resource discovered in Niger will increase its irrigation capacity on an area of more than 2 million hectares of arable land covering these aquifer systems, nearly a third of the size of Lake Michigan (57,750 km2).
This means that smallholder farmers will be better able to feed their families and sell their surplus crops. This allows them to improve their living conditions and livelihoods and build resilience to climate change.
“This study to map underground aquifers is the first of its kind in Niger. We are amazed by the results of the study, as the available groundwater makes Niger the most groundwater-rich country in the Sahel,” said Diafarou Moumouni Ali, the Supervisor of this activity for MCA-Niger.
Adamou Hassane, a hydrologist who participated in the study, added that “these results motivate us for the next steps which will be to decide on the use of these aquifers to increase crop yields for the benefit of all Nigeriens-
The initiative is within the context of the MCC’s $442.6 million Niger compact program aimed at addressing two major constraints to economic growth and investment in Niger: lack of access to water for productive uses and physical access and institutional barriers to trade.
Niger is said to be highly vulnerable to the changing climate and regularly experiences extremes: floods give way to extended droughts, with a backdrop of low and unpredictable rainfalls. This results in unproductive agricultural lands and is causing widespread food insecurity across the country.
According to the World Food Programme, more than 4.4 million Nigeriens– almost 20 percent of the population– are food insecure and nearly half of children under age 5 suffer from acute malnutrition
In partnership with the Government of Niger, the MCC compact is increasing rural incomes by improving the sustainable productive use of natural resources for agricultural production and improving trade and market access for agricultural products. The compact has the potential to benefit approximately 3.9 million people.
For more insights, your favorite, Eco-Enviro News Africa, magazine got the man behind the scientific research driven innovative technological solutions to unearthing the hidden ground water aquifer goodies of countries worldwide with the most recent, being in Niger desert making her the most groundwater rich country in the Sahel region, Dr. Alain Gachet, Founder/ CEO, RTI Explorations.
The WATEX® System, an algorithm combining spatial, geophysical, geological and climatic data, was invented, tested worldwide and implemented by the team of Dr. Alain Gachet, who is also a former explorer of Elf Aquitaine and founder in 1999 of RTI Exploration.
Now read on for the details of our exclusive Interview with Dr. Gachet
1.EENA: Courtesy RTI’s three years painstaking research and hard work in the Niger desert, the country is today crowned as the most groundwater rich country in the Sahel region of Africa. What was the motivating factor behind the project and could you share this most exciting moment with our readers?
AG The motivating factor is to prove that there are solutions to alleviate the consequences of Climate change and create prosperity in a country badly struck by drought and threatened by food insecurity.
Our WATEX system invented by RTI Exploration allowed us reveal the invisible and quantify new groundwater resources by billions of cubic meters from shallow depths (ranging from 5 to 60 meters) to deeper depths (from 60 m to 500 meters) with almost 2 million hectares of arable soils not cultivated today: people could not imagine that such huge groundwater quantities were lying under their homes, ready for use and to change their lives.
Beside the surprise and excitement of such discoveries, is to experiment the power of science combined to brain, thanks to the financial support of the US Government. That is the way to save millions of persons and change the destiny of a whole country and more than that, restore hope to the new generation of farmers and herders.
If little water brings war and conflicts around wells, a lot of water can bring peace through prosperity. That is the ultimate goal of my company expressed through my next book: WATER AND PEACE
2.EENA: Is Niger the first African country to ever benefit from the exploits of RTI, or other countries preceded her and what were the statistics?
No, Niger is a part of our exploration field spreading from Afghanistan to South America with a drilling success rate reaching 98% based on 2700+ wells since the Darfour crisis in Chad and Sudan in 2004.
3.EENA: After Niger which other African country or countries are on RTI’s list to benefit from its game changer technology?
AGI am not allowed yet to answer to such a strategic question
4.EENA: What was the motivating factor behind your switchover from mineral exploration to water exploration as a globally reputed mineral exploration geologist ?
AG I learnt a lot of geosciences and I made lots of discoveries during my 20 years of oil exploration, and a lot more in diamonds and gold exploration worldwide. But I understood since the Darfur crisis in early 2004, that we were driving to hell with the Climate Change which would spread like a fireball far beyond Sudan and Chad very soon, because ultimately, you don’t eat gold and diamonds and you don’t drink oil. My straight answer was to find this invisible water using my former exploration tools combined with a new generation of satellites to bring quick and efficient responses to what appeared aa a new challenge for humanity.
5.EENA: Could you compare and contrast the socio-ecological cost associated with the two exploration divides vis-à-vis the on-going discourse on sustainable development?
AG We are aware of the impact of mining activities on the environment with human and social associated costs.
Nevertheless, any civilization needs and minerals and I remain an Engineer using science to cope with any challenge. We can produce commodities in a cleaner way: bringing water to the mining sites will offer new sustainable benefits for the environment such as reforestations, soils remediation using bacteria and fungi (mycorrhization).
People call me Dr. Gachet but I am not the doctor of humans, but doctor of the Earth, finding the invisible water to heal and clean the wounds inflicted by humanity to the Earth: ESG commitment remains of our ultimate goal.
EENA: Thank you very much for your time