His proposal is based on his research of satellite radar imagery, which indicates that a lake about the size of Lake Erie lies below the sands of northern Darfur. “Access to fresh water is essential for refugee survival, will help the peace process, and provide the necessary resources for the much needed economic development in Darfur,” said Dr. El-Baz.*
Dr. El-Baz explained that his work, which has discovered water in other arid areas of the world, brings him a good feeling knowing that he may be benefiting others and that he hoped to widen his audience’s horizons about what they might be able to do.
Citing an earlier example of his work, Dr. El-Baz described his research into another Saharan region so arid that it received rain perhaps once every fifty years. Yet, from satellite imagery and archeological remains - stones for grinding grain, ostrich shells, hut foundations, and petroglyphs - he surmised that this same region had water some 6000 years before. This water may have collected into a lake and then seeped below the surface thousands of years before the region became drought-stricken. Sure enough, test wells revealed the presence of water, a supply sufficient for 200 years of farming.
Dr. El-Baz described the situation in Darfur as similar. His research has determined that the water is there below the surface and now he must decide the best location for digging the test wells. He has named the project “1,000 Wells for Darfur,” with the United Nations collecting funds for the project. Some of Dr. El-Baz’s Boston University students have already begun collecting money for a BU-sponsored well, and he encouraged Cushing students to consider doing the same.
*This article used material from the Geological Society of America Web site.