On September 15th, stakeholders from Kenya, Tanzania and surrounding communities will come together to celebrate Mara Day to focus on the health of the Mara River. Informative activities and presentations aim to foster discussions on water quality, pollution, deforestation, drought and other environmental and social challenges facing the MRB and its sustainable development.
More than 1.1 million people live in the MRB and a wealth of flora and fauna depend on its resources. It’s no coincidence the event takes place during the famous wildebeest migration in which the perennial Mara River becomes the destination for the world’s largest mammal migration of almost 2 million wildebeest and zebra. For more information about Mara Day: http://allafrica.com/stories/201307261515.html?viewall=1
But its very critical source, The Mau Forest in Kenya, has been suffering devastation for years as industry – and local people needing wood – have cut down this forest. The forest’s retention of water during the seasons of heavy rains plays a crucial role to the entire watershed.
The Mara River, fed by waters from the Mau Forest, nurtures iconic plains species that bring lucrative tourism and jobs; commercial and subsistence farmers; fisherman; and the ecosystems of its Lake Victoria terminus.
And perhaps most important, the Mara supplies drinking water to its inhabitants and their livestock, yet it can no longer be guaranteed to be clean, healthy water.
In NWNL’s expedition covering the length of the Mara River and in our interviews with many stakeholders and stewards en route, it became clear that education is the key. Those who live in the Basin now must learn the upstream-downstream consequences of their water and forest usage, and why it is critical for tomorrow and future tomorrows to adjust their habits and practices to ensure the sustainability of livestock, flora, fauna and their own communities.
View NWNL’s video “The Mau Forest, Source of the Mara River” from the 2009 MRB expedition here.