Africa

Vast underground reservoir could supply Africa's driest country for centuries

Updated 0924 GMT (1724 HKT) May 7, 2015
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Located in the southwestern part of Africa, Namibia is a massive, sparsely populated country of some 2.3 million people. It is situated between two deserts -- the Namib and the Kalahari -- and is the driest country of sub-Saharan Africa.

WATCH: A game-changer for water access in Namibia
Laura Ma/CNN
Often described as a natural paradise, Namibia is home to some of the world's most spectacular landscapes and diverse wildlife. Laura Ma/CNN
The country is famous for its two deserts, the arid and almost completely uninhabited Namib desert that extends for some for 1,200 miles along the Atlantic coast; and the Kalahari, which occupies the eastern third of the country. Both deserts are home to exotic, fragile plants. CNN
The stunning red dunes at Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert are a natural wonder of the world and Namibia's most outstanding attraction. They were formed over millions of years, the result of material flowing from the Orange River into the ocean, carried north and returned again to land by the surf. Laura Ma/CNN
Twice the size of Germany, Namibia gets less than 370mm of rain each year and multi-year droughts are frequent. Courtesy NamibRand Nature Reserve
Access to water in this arid and dry country is challenging. Less than 1% of Namibia is believed to be arable, with water regarded as the main block to agricultural production. Brigitte Weidlich/AFP/Getty Images
Yet, in the northern region of Namibia a large body of underground water could provide a sustainable supply to about 40% of the country's population. CNN
The massive aquifer, which lies about 300 meters underground, was discovered in 2012 and is estimated to be 10,000 years old. karen bowerman
Scientists say the water source -- dubbed Ohangwena II -- is clean and drinkable and could supply the north of the country for centuries.
CNN
Situated on the border with Angola, Namibia's side of the 10,000-year-old aquifer covers an area about 70km by 40km (43 miles by 25 miles). Courtesy NamibRand Nature Reserve