n African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development - Community view of public water projects and the challenges posed to state institutions in Nigeria

Volume 3, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 2042-1338
  • E-ISSN: 2042-1346
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The search for efficient water management options generally overlooks beliefs systems, perception, reality and attitudes. Yet these all play a part in sustainable water management most especially in the less developed countries. The aim of this paper is to see how such cultural issues contend with the formal State initiatives for efficient water resources management in Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria. The study uses key contending State water management principles, namely water rights, cost recovery and environmental sustainability and compared with local practices to see commonalities and differences. Meetings, interviews, observations and focus group discussions were used to collect the data. The ideal points for such data collection were the Cross River Basin Development Authority (CRBDA) projects which served as intersection points between formal, state-based institutions and the informal community-based practices. In the result, it was observed that the key water management principles adopted by the State could not fit well with the prevailing local practices and contexts. Expectedly, the needed cooperation from the locals for those projects was weak and lacking. A number of factors lent explanations and these bordered on the perception and attitudes to water by the locals; and compounded by the hydrological and socio-economic characteristics of the study areas. For instance, the notion of linking water with the supernatural agency stultifies any formal efforts at cost recovery. This is likely going to be so in the nearest future given sufficient water supplies from the natural sources. Since the "scarcity value" has not been appreciated, it is likely that the locals will continue to perceive any formal water management initiatives as financially taxing rather than improving their overall conditions. Consequently, a management option that builds on the views of the locals was recommended.

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