Division of Early Warning and Assessment


UNEP's Africa Water Atlas is a visual account of Africa's endowment and use of water resources, revealed through 224 maps and 104 satellite images as well as some 500 graphics and hundreds of compelling photos. However the Atlas is more than a collection of static maps and images accompanied by informative facts and figures: its visual elements vividly illustrate a succinct narrative describing and analyzing Africa's water issues and exemplifying them through the judicious use of case studies.

5 country water profiles and a special feature on Kenya's Water Towers are provided below. For more information on these are other profiles, visit:

1) Africa Water Atlas
2) Kenya Atlas

All graphics in the country water profiles below have the diskette icon next to them to enable readers
to download the images.
  Ethiopia Country Water Profile (PDF - 476KB)  
  Cameroon Country Water Profile (PDF - 487KB)  
  South Africa Country Water Profile (PDF - 420KB)  
  Kenya Country Water Profile (PDF - 529KB)  
  Uganda Country Water Profile (PDF - 555KB)  



Kenya Water Towers

The five “water towers” of Kenya—Mount Kenya, the Aberdare Range, the Mau Forest Complex, Mount Elgon and the Cherangani Hills—are montane forests and the country’s fi ve largest forest blocks. They form the upper catchments of all the main rivers in Kenya (except the Tsavo River originating in Mt. Kilimanjaro). The “water towers” are sources of water for irrigation, agriculture, industrial processes and for all installed hydropower plants, which produce about 60 per cent of Kenya’s electricity output. These montane forests are also surrounded by Kenya’s most densely populated areas, because they provide enough water for intensive agriculture and urban settlements (DRSRS and KFWG 2006). The integrity of these forests aff ects their capacity to mitigate floods and drought, prevent soil erosion, maintain water quality, increase groundwater infi ltration and infl uence the micro-climate in and surrounding the forest (GoK 2010).

Satellite Image of the five 'water towers' of kenya
Download: JPG (469 KB)

Mau ComplexMau Complex

Background Information

Mau Satellite Images: Figure v-a - Figure v-b


Aberdare RangesThe Aberdare Ranges

Background Information

Aberdare Ranges Satellite Images: Figure i - Figure ii