Tsavo East has one permanent source of water: the Galana River. Everyday the women and children of Ikanga village in Taita-Taveta District have had to walk 12 km to the river and back (a three-hour round trip) carrying water for cooking, drinking and washing. Harassment of people and livestock by wildlife, crop raiding and the potential for lion attacks made the journey dangerous as well as long.
The Community Wildlife Service identified the situation in Ikanga and other communities as critical to management of human-wildlife conflict in the park. One solution was to pipe water from a storage tank to villages along the western border of the park. By making encroachment into the park for water collection and livestock grazing less attractive, CWS hopes to reduce the potential for conflict.
In March 1995, KWS committed Kshs 1.6 million to the project and began to build a pipeline linking a rainfall catchment tank with twelve standpipes for the communities along the western border of the park. The project, now complete, proved to be a successful collaboration. KWS funded the purchase of pipes and supervised construction labour to transport materials, dig trenches and build the tank.
Fencing, however, proved to be the only option that would restore community confidence and keep wildlife away from the small farms along the western border of the park. From Ndi to Ndare, 30 km of electric fencing is under construction to exclude rhino, buffalo, elephant and lion, with 7 km already in place. The community has come forward to provide the unskilled labour needed to build the fence under KWS supervision.
To cement relations and share responsibility for these solutions, KWS set up wildlife management committees at sublocation level to provide liaison points with the community. Ad hoc meetings are held to respond to any incidents of human-wildlife conflict; report on breakages, fires and vandalism; and arrange for vegetation clearance along the fenceline.