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River Stories: Ewaso Nyiro

Flowing down from Mount Kenya to the dry plains that stretch East of the Great Rift Valley, the Ewaso Nyiro River flows 700 km before emptying out into a large network of wetlands known as the Lorian swamp.

The Ewaso Nyiro River supports economic development and livelihoods that reside along its banks. With a continuous water supply from the glaciers from Mount Kenya, it runs down through seven semi-arid counties: Meru, Laikipia, Samburu, Isiolo, Wajir, Garissa and Marsabit, serving as an important catchment for people and biodiversity.

In the local community's language, it means muddy or brown river. In the arid north of Kenya, water means life. The catchment became a main resource for both large and small-scale farmers and their livelihoods.

It also provides water to the species of the Samburu National Reserve, Shaba National Reserve and Buffalo Springs National Reserve supporting species such as elephants, giraffes, hippos and cheetahs.

Many Kenyans have no access to tap water and therefore depend on free-flowing rivers. But water availability has decreased due to longer drought periods induced by climate change and unsustainable farming practices and degradation of forests which are key 'water towers.'

The wetlands that are natural water filtrations systems and home to numerous species are under siege from negative human-related activities. 

WWF-Kenya has been working with diverse freshwater conservation stakeholders to call for collective action for water through the annual Journey of Water campaign.

The Journey of Water campaign navigates the delicate balance between scarcity and sustainability and advocates for governments, academics and communities to come together and take action to save the Ewaso Nyiro river for both people and biodiversity.

Our freshwater lead for WWF Kenya, William O. Ojwang states, “Water requires coordination - a resource that we need to share as a country.”
© WWF-Kenya
The Ewaso Nyiro River. The river flows 700 km before emptying out into a large network of wetlands known as the Lorian swamp.