Tanzania: A divided river

Mara River; Photo: Deutsche Welle

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The Mara River is essential for lives and livelihoods in both Kenya and Tanzania. But flowing across the border, it also represents a source of potential conflict. From dam projects to pollution from agriculture, what happens to the Mara in Kenya impacts those reliant on it downstream in Tanzania.

The solution? A cross-border water management plan. The two countries will negotiate their terms and access, but first they need to know: Who uses the water? How? Where? When? And, essentially, how much?

The Nile Basin Initiative — an intergovernmental partnership of 10 Nile Basin countries — and GIZ are working with scientists to answer these questions. 

They are also interviewing communities along the Mara to understand the role it plays in their lives — providing drinking water, fish and a place to bathe. And it's not just communities that are reliant on the river, which also supports a wealth of biodiversity in surrounding wetlands.

The project's findings will lay the foundations for a water treaty to ensure people and wildlife on both sides of the border can continue to rely on the Mara's life-giving waters.

A film by Louise Osborne

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06:45 Minutes

Date of publication


Biodiversity conservation and utilisation of ecosystem services in wetlands of transboundary significance in the Nile Basin

Global Ideas

Global Ideas
The television reports and documentaries of Deutsche Welle's 'Global Ideas' media project provide people all over the world with information on model projects which implement biodiversity and climate protection. The media project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety through the International Climate Initiative.

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