Holding Water

23 Feb 2007

A new database of maps of Kenya’s remote north-central Samburu District assembled by scientists and volunteers at the British charity Earthwatch was unveiled in Nairobi yesterday.

The maps show the location, quality and seasonal variability of springs, rivers, pools and dams in the area, one of the country’s poorest.

Earthwatch said it would continue to update the database and is collaborating with local groups to spread the information it contains among local communities.

‘In this semi-arid region where people and wildlife compete for natural resources, the new GIS database has the potential to greatly improve access to clean drinking water,’ said Nat Spring, a senior Earthwatch official, in a statement.

Disputes over scarce resources are common among pastoralists in the desolate northern areas of Kenya.

‘I hope this information will help people, including wildlife herders who travel with their livestock, to find and choose cleaner water sources,’ commented Philip Leitore, coordinator of infection prevention at at Samburu’s Wamba Mission Hospital.


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