Kenya’s largest river is a source of anger | Global Ideas | DW | 24.02.2015

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Global Ideas

Kenya’s largest river is a source of anger

Kenya’s Tana river once supplied water in abundance, but dams essential to the nation’s power supply are having devastating effects on rural communities.

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Project goal: collecting and providing scientific data to find a balance between commercial use (such as electricity production) and protection of the natural environment. Identification of investment choices to improve the river’s ability to adapt to the effects of future climate change
Implementation: University of Nairobi collaborates with 20 institutions along the Tana to collect data evaluation takes place in Africa and Europe
Duration: 2013-2017
Project size: Tana river is 1000 km long
Project volume: 1.8 million euros provided by the International Climate Initiative (IKI).

The 1000 km long Tana River is the largest in Kenya and is well known for its extraordinary biodiversity. It forms the basis of existence for wild animals, nomads and their livestock as well as for agricultural projects. But the water itself has become the focal point of a conflict. Although the river’s dams generate two thirds of the country’s electricity, they create drought further downstream, and that, in turn, is killing plants and animals, and rendering land infertile. Scientists involved in a project called WISE-UP are looking at ways of combining differing interests and of encouraging energy companies, farmers and conservationists to communicate with each other.

A film by Ruth Krause

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