Saturday, July 9, 2016

6,500 liters of water

Water, water everywhere, and not a drop for our artificial streams...

This is how I felt as we embarked on the next challenge - how would we get enough water to fill our 18 streams with 60 liters each and conduct a 50% water change every other day (kids, take note... this is why math is important!). There was water at the Mara Conservancy headquarters, but it came from a borehole and is salty, and we weren't sure how that would impact our experiment. There was water in the nearby Mara River, but it was in the realm of large wildlife and thus full of hippo poop. One thing we were planning to test was the influence of hippo poop on the diet of aquatic insects, so we needed control water that didn't already have hippo poop in it. There was freshwater in a nearby borehole, but many people rely on it for drinking water and it occasionally runs low, so they weren't comfortable with us using so much water from it. There was water in the Mara upstream of hippos, but that was a 2.5 hour drive away on terrible roads, so it would be a logistical challenge to get it into our camp. Did you say logistical challenge?! We're in!

After about a million phone calls to everyone we know, and all of their friends, and all of their acquaintances with trucks, we finally found someone willing to sell us some water tanks that they could transport to the Mara, and someone else willing to drive a water tanker 2 hours from Narok, fill it up from the Mara upstream of hippos, drive the water 2.5 more hours to our camp, and fill up our tanks. I'm pretty sure everyone thought we were crazy, but we were on our way to having 6,500 liters of water!

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