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The Waterholes Restoration Project

You can visit the specific waterholes in the following link: Waterholes photos

Conservation Project

Natural Waterholes Restoration Project

The Maasai Association is the driving force behind the Waterhole Restoration Project in Merrueshi Group Ranch, Kenya. This is a rangeland management and conservation project aimed at restoring natural waterholes for the benefit of wildlife and Maasai pastoralists.

The waterholes were originally made and maintained by elephants for decades. However, due to prolonged droughts and reduction of elephant population in the region, most waterholes have either silted up or in the process of silting. The waterholes are in desperate need of restoration.

Why are the waterholes silting?

Silting of waterholes is caused by excessive vegetation growth and accumulated mud in the bottom of the waterhole. When a waterhole disappears, the number of wildlife in that area will also fade away. Shortage of water can increase human and wildlife conflict in the area. The objectives for restoring waterholes are to:

• Collect rainwater which would otherwise be lost to evaporation or runoff
• Reduce human and wildlife conflict over shallow wells and boreholes
• Promote tolerance and harmonize the relationship between people and wildlife
• Secure wildlife migration corridors in private ranches
• Increase the number of wildlife in the area

Because of complexities between landowners and wildlife we often restored waterholes in private ranches and encouraged landowners to share the water and pasture with wildlife. We can only restore waterholes in private ranches when the owner agreed not to fence the waterhole and open migration corridors.

Restoring a Waterhole

To restore the waterhole we have to bring in a bulldozer from Nairobi city. It is not always easy to find a bulldozer because most contractors are often reluctant to bring their equipment 300 kilometers into the bush where communication and roads is limited.

Tree planting

The local people must play an important role in order for the project to be successful. The villagers are required to plant drought-tolerant trees around the waterholes. The trees are an effective means to prevent future soil erosion. In addition to restoring the waterhole we also have to restore water channels that direct the water into the waterhole. The Maasai Association will continue to monitor the waterhole for years and make sure that the ranchers are keeping the promise.You can adopt a waterhole in one Click.

Please contact us for any questions regarding this and other projects in our organization.




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Graphic design, data architecture, technical implementation by Ole Maimai,


Facts about Maasai waterholes

This project helps people and wildlife at the same time.

The waterholes require low maintenance and can be maintained by local people without ongoing support from the outside.

The villagers already have a community based management system in place; they only need initial funding to desilt the waterholes. Click to support this project.