NWNL’s Mara River Basin Expedition
September 15 – October 15, 2009
(Reprinted from Expedition News, January, 2010)
The No Water No Life photographic/video team of Alison Jones and Alison Fast returned this fall from Kenya and Tanzania with a thorough documentation of the Mara River Basin’s urgent issues of degradation and the grassroots solutions being addressed. The group, based in New York, combines photography and science to raise public awareness of the quality, availability and usage of fresh water resources.
Jones says, “My greatest concern is today’s degradation and loss of fresh water, the most essential of resources. One and a half billion people today live without safe drinking water.” She tells an AMC meeting in Westport, Conn., recently, “If we don’t address communities without water, the world will become an ugly place.”
The following is the Trip Report from the Mara River Basin Expedition:
Recently, the Mara River Basin has been especially hard hit during East Africa’s extended drought. Jones and Fast documented the Mara River’s critically low water levels and pollution, as they traveled from its Kenyan source in the Mau Forest to its Tanzanian outlet into Lake Victoria. The degradation of the Mara River covered by No Water No Life has been caused by deforestation, climate change, unregulated water extraction, human and livestock effluent and agricultural runoff.
The team filmed interviews with 35 stakeholders and scientists committed to mitigating these threats via better regulation of water extraction during low flows, corrective protection of the Mau Forest catchment areas, more efficient irrigation, afforestation, rain harvesting and establishment of riverine corridors. All agree that while this is certainly a critical time for the Mara River Basin, its inhabitants and its renowned wildlife, there are reasons to be positive. Team results:
• Captured 52 hours of filmed interviews and B-roll, and 200 gigs of still photographs.
• Shared concerns over water usage and quality with partners upstream and downstream.
• Established ongoing partnerships between stakeholders, stewards and scientists.
• Compared the Mara River issues with other local watersheds.
• Noted the role of the Mara River within the greater Nile River Basin.
No Water No Life appreciates all who have supported this expedition, especially James Robertson of Ker and Downey Safaris, Houston (www.kerdowney.com) who provided logistical assistance. (For more information and further updates: www.nowater-nolife.org).