A spring watering people and animals reducing human wildlife conflict

by Sophie Mbugua

Women and girls from from Nkolale village in Masai Mara, Narok West walked four kilometers in search of water along the Ormerui river – a seasonal river emanating from the Loita hills. During the drought, the women depended on scooping out sand from the river. Wild animals relied on the scooped water to quench their thirst too.

Two-thirds of Narok county is classified as semi-arid, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries. Communities in Narok face frequent drought occurring every four years. The area’s rivers are seasonal, often drying up during drought

Most of Maasai Mara landscape is arid and semi-arid. Nkolale village sit right in the middle of six conservancies and the Masai Mara national reserve.  As people, their livestock and the wild animals share the same water resources, human-wildlife conflict is inevitable. To solve this problem, a community has conserved natural springs, piping some water to the villages while leaving some for the wild animals.

Protecting natural springs

About 7000 people from Nkolale village depend on the conserved natural springs conserved with the help of the County development fund, community contribution, and well-wishers from the Netherlands.

“We built 100,000 litres underground tank where the water accumulates before it’s pumped into another outer tank. From this tank, it’s pumped by gravity 13kilomtres into the villages. Some of the water is directed to open wells where wild animals quench their thirst from” explains the Nkolale community development organization manager, Nelson Ole Kirrokor.

Around the tank, the community planted bushes and trees then protected the Land by registering it into a conservancy. Governed by the traditional rules, no one is allowed to cut a tree or graze there. The villages access the water twice a day at a kshs100 monthly fee that helps to maintain the infrastructure.

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