RUAHA RIVER FACT FILE 1970 - 2006

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" 1964 - 1983 Only access into Ruaha Park was via the ferry. Visitors could could only enter Ruaha during the dry season as during the rains the roads were inaccessible. Therefore, the fact that a ferry had to be used to enter the park means that the flow of the river during the entire dry season was deep and wide.

" 1970's - First rice farm, Mbarali, was established. A drop in the dry season flow was noticed.

" 1983 - Second rice farm, Kapunga was established. A large drop in the dry season flow was noticed, Ferry could no longer be used during dry season, due to lack of water, instead, people drove over the river through shallow water.

" 1993 - November, Ruaha River stopped flowing for the first time in living memory.

" 1997-1998 - El Ninio during wet season, despite massive flow of water in the river for over five and a half months, the river still dried up completely in November 1998.

" 1998 - Third rice farm established at Madibira. Dry season "no" flow becomes for longer periods.

" 2000 + - Large increase in irrigation/farming on the upper catchment area, the Kipingeri Range/Chimala Escarpment, results in less water going into the Usangu Basin catchment.

" 2000 + - Continued influx of small holders into the Usangu Basin, resulting in increased off-take.

" 2000 + -Thousands of cattle have been using the Usangu Basin area for many years, during the dry season. However, as the off-take of water from irrigation increased, the access into the swamp 'proper' became easier for the cattle keepers, therefore, excessive damage to the swamp areas begins to take its toll on the wetland eco-system.

" 2001 + - Dry season 'No' flow of the Great Ruaha River now for extended 3 month periods. PLUS Dramatic drop in the wet-season levels and shorter duration of this high level flow very obvious.

CONCLUSION - Judging by the actual flows of the river, the off-take during the late 1970's appears to be a sustainable level that should be used as a guideline for today.

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