Mara River Basin

Mara Expedition ’09 Summary

Sept. 15 – Oct. 15, 2009

Our No Water No Life photographic/video team of Alison Jones and Alison Fast has just returned from Kenya and Tanzania with exciting and thorough documentation of the Mara River Basin’s urgent issues of degradation and grassroots solutions being addressed.

• We captured 52 hours of filmed interviews and scenery and 200 gigabytes of still photographs.

• We shared concerns over water usage and quality with partners upstream and downstream.

• We established ongoing partnerships between stakeholders, stewards and scientists.

• We compared the Mara River issues with other local watersheds.

• We noted the role of the Mara River within the greater Nile River Basin.

• We observed aspects of the Mara River parallel to and unique from our other case-study watersheds.

Pending a more thorough report, below is a brief description of the expedition’s focus:

No Water No Life ® is a US-based project, raising public awareness of the vulnerability of global fresh water resources. This fall the project’s conservation photographer, Alison Jones, and videographer Alison Fast spent a month photographing the vulnerability of the Mara River, one of the project’s six case-study watersheds in Africa and North America.

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.

This No Water No Life 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.

No Water No Life appreciates all who have supported this expedition and especially to James Robertson of Ker and Downey Safaris who offered invaluable help in arranging our logistical details. Outputs from this expedition will be posted in the next couple of months.

Thank you, Alison

Alison M. Jones, Founding Director, No Water No Life