The Tana River is Kenya’s longest river and the upper basin covers approximately 17,000 square kilometers and includes two of Kenya’s water towers: the Aberdares Mountains and Mount Kenya. Upper Tana basin is thus very important as a source of water to Tana River which provides 95 percent of the water supply for Nairobi and generates 50 percent of Kenya’s electricity. Furthermore, the Tana River catchment area is home to 300,000 smallholder farmers, who depend and impact on the river. Small scale farming activities upstream have led to sediments ending up in the river, which results in higher costs for water treatment, lower water levels and lower hydropower output. Adding urgency to address challenges is climate change, which has brought about unpredictable rainfall patterns while the city’s population is rapidly growing.
The river also sustains important aquatic biodiversity. The upper reaches of the Source Mountains themselves lie largely within protected areas; however just downstream, the river is being impacted by sediments, and dry season flows are being depleted.
The Centre for Biodiversity has vast wealth of experience in terms of research capacity, vision and mission, which positions the National Museums of Kenya to undertake excellent biodiversity research, dissemination, training and conservation. It is on this basis that the Centre for Biodiversity is undertaking Wetland Biodiversity Assessment, Mapping, Knowledge Sharing and Management for Upper Tana, Kenya.