“Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.”
Growing up in California, I have always valued water and thought I conserved it… thought.
On the Laikipia Plateau, the home location of Daraja Academy, water is a life or death issue. There are several rivers and creeks that run through the area which originate high on Mt. Kenya and the Aberdare mountain range. However, the area around the school, though bountiful, would never have been mistaken for a rainforest because it is located on the dry-side of Mt. Kenya.
Daraja Academy relies on the Uwaso Nanyuki River to provide water to maintain the campus, shower, water the milk cows, flush toilets, use in the kitchen, mop floors etc. However, due to numerous factors, including global warming, deforestation, and nearby commercial farming, today the amount of water in the rivers and falling from the clouds has dropped to dangerous levels.
Until last year, the Uwaso Nanyuki River had never run dry… on February 2nd, 2009 that changed. The academy went into conservation mode and was ok… for about two weeks. We began to conserve harder and were ok for another two weeks. Finally, we paid a fire truck to bring us 30,000 liters from town.
When the emergency water was close to running out, it rained on Mt. Kenya. The flow from the mountain gave us only a foot of water in the river basin, and we narrowly made it until the rainfall came.
With 26 more students arriving tomorrow and 26 more over the next two years, investing in the water project is vital right now.
Although the water situation is a daunting one, we have long-term