WATER MANAGEMENT STRATEGY USED BY RURAL HOUSEHOLDS IN ISUNJABA L.G.A, IMO STATE
1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Water as a natural resource plays a critical role in economic development in Nigeria. Nigeria is endowed with abundant natural water resources evident in her substantial yearly rainfall, large surface bodies of water-rivers, streams and lakes, as well as in abundant reservoirs of underground water whose extent and distribution have not been fully assessed.
Figures of stream discharges of the flowing surface waters are now available and rainfall, which is perhaps the most important of the country‘s natural water resources, has long records which in some places date from as far back as 1906, (Orjiakor, 2013).
The annual mean rainfall distribution ranges from about 4000 mm at the coast to practically zero at the northern border and an average annual mean of 1200 mm for the retire country. Over eighty percent of the rains in the country fall within the six wet months, April to September, of each year. A sizeable amount of the rainwater is lost by percolation to underground flows.
The bulk of the rain, however, flows as runoff into rivers, streams and lakes. From these surface water bodies and through vegetation some of the rainwater is lost to the atmosphere by evapotranspiration. Efficient management of water resources for rural areas requires a full understanding of existing patterns of water demand (Nyong and Kanaroglou 2011). Demand analysis is an important tool for the economic analysis of household behaviour with regard to water use.
Demand analysis can help to determine factors influencing water demand predict their effects and help to develop policy options accordingly. These households use different water sources: namely, free water sources, purchased water sources or a combination of both free and purchased water sources. These sources may be public improved sources or private traditional sources.
We are also interested in investigating household domestic water use as a function of water availability by explicitly estimating water use for the rainy and dry seasons, when water is, respectively, in surplus and scarce.
Methodologically, household water demand is derived from the household decision making process. For rural households relying only on public or traditional sources, a non-separable household model is needed because households allocate their labour between income generation activities and water fetching. Such analysis, using the Seemingly Unrelated Regression (SUR) method, was conducted by Acharya and Barbier (2015) for rural households that only collect water, only purchase water from vendors or both purchase and collect water.
In the present study, we identify three types of households: namely, those that use only free water sources, those that use only purchased water sources and those that use both free and purchased water sources. In rural developing areas, not only does the quantity of water use vary between the dry and rainy seasons, but seasonal variation in the determinants of household water use also exists.
Although studies have found that the water use quantity is not the same in the rainy season as in the dry season (Keshavarzi et al. 2012; Hadjer et al. 2014), these studies have not clearly separated factors that affect household behaviour in each season. However, apart from water availability, other factors can also cause water use to vary between seasons.
For instance, the opportunity cost of time required for fetching water is much larger in the rainy season than in the dry season. Furthermore, a clear distinction of factors affecting water use in each season is important because it may reveal which factors are more important for water management under different conditions of water availability.
Little is reported about water demand for these households in the literature. Indeed, most work on water demand in developing countries has focused on households with access to a piped network (Zekri and Dinar 2016). Other work has attempted to identify determinants of households’ decisions to connect to a piped network (Persson 2015; Madanat and Humplick 2015). Moreover, recent studies on water use have combined urban and rural populations and targeted neither rural households nor households that lack access to private improved sources (Hadjer et al. 2014). Water Management is of direct interest to the society as a whole, as well as to most development related public institutions at central, state and municipal levels, academia, private sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) (Okeke and Uzoh 2009). Such widespread interest in water is not a unique situation, as many water professionals have often claimed: it is equally applicable to other important sectors like food, energy, the environment, health, communication or transportation (Akpor and Muchie, 2011).
All these issues command high levels of social and political attention in all modern societies, although their relative importance may vary from one state to another, and also overtime. In an increasingly interrelated and complex world, many issues are of high interest for assuring good quality of life of the people.
Consequently, there is need to have a better understanding of the values and ideological preferences of policy makers, bureaucrats and the general public.
Secondly, a change from supply management approach to demand management approach requires a change in the manpower and institutional requirements for water resources management. The new integrated approach requires greater knowledge and understanding of the technological, social, economic and ecological dimensions of water resource management and how they are inter-related.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In Nigeria, water management and utilisation is crucial to the country’s efforts to reduce poverty, grow the economy, ensure food security and maintain the ecological systems basically human welfare and economic development generally depend on the use of water. Nevertheless, the issue of water management in the country and Imo state in particular focuses mainly on water supply and it receives only minimal attention by government. This approach may be attributed partly to the disjointed sectoral approach to development planning in the country and the idea that water is a public good. It may also be partly attributed to the fact that the international development community have not given due attention to water resources until very recently. The issue of sustainable water resources management has attracted the attention of the international community and policy makers in Nigeria in the Last decade. The new emphasis on water management in Nigeria is coming with a shift in the principle and approach to the management of water resources. It is now recognised that water is a commodity of strategic importance because of increasing demands and rising costs, coupled with diminishing supplies (Sharma et. al., 2017). In addition, it is now recognised that solutions must be found at the user-end of the pipe that is, improving water use productivity, reducing conveyance losses, reusing water and optimising allocation. The underlying principle is that water is a scarce good with dimensions of economic efficiency, social equity and environmental sustainability. Therefore, it has both public and private characteristics, and hence there is an important role for public and private participation in efficient management and development of water, particularly communities that use water (Sharma et al., 2017; Karikari, 2017). The new principle and approach to water resource management has many far reaching implications for policy design and institutional building as well as policy implementation. For example, the change in principle may be regarded as a basic ideological shift. Generally, such ideological shift cannot be imposed on people since it depends on cultural belief and world view of the people. Sharma et al (2017) for example noted that in sub-Sahara Africa as a whole, the following institutional capacity problems are rampant: (i) people are unaware that water is a finite resource with supply constraints, that it has a scarcity value, and that there is a cost to using it; (ii) lack of understanding of the consequences of deforestation and land degradation on the quantity and quality of water; (iii) inadequate capacity building and neglect of traditional knowledge bases as well as gender issues; (iv) management of water resources is highly fragmented among sectors and institutions and there is excessive reliance on public sector services; and (v) weak institutional and implementation capacities. The implication of the foregoing is that if the new emphasis on water resources management in Nigeria is to achieve meaningful results, there is the need to have a better understanding of the management strategies and problems that are involved.
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1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine water management strategy used by rural households. Other general objectives of the study are:
- To examine the major barriers to water quality management at the rural household level.
- To examine how water supply; provision, use, technology and problems affect rural households in Isunjaba L.G.A, Imo state.
- To examine the impact of water management strategy on the wellbeing of households in Isunjaba L.G.A, Imo state.
- To examine the factors affecting management of rural water systems in Isunjaba L.G.A, Imo state
- To examine the challenges facing management of water resources in rural households.
- To examine the management strategies that should be considered to enhance quality water supply in Isunjaba L.G.A, Imo state.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the major barriers to water quality management at the rural household level?
- How does water supply; provision, use, technology and problems affect rural households in Isunjaba L.G.A, Imo state?
- What is the impact of water management strategy on the wellbeing of households in Isunjaba L.G.A, Imo state?
- What are the factors affecting management of rural water systems in Isunjaba L.G.A, Imo state?
- What are the challenges facing management of water resources in rural households?
- What are the management strategies that should be considered to enhance quality water supply in Isunjaba L.G.A, Imo state?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: There is no significant impact of water management strategy on the wellbeing of households in Isunjaba L.G.A, Imo state
- There is a significant impact of water management strategy on the wellbeing of households in Isunjaba L.G.A, Imo state.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The general public, government and water resource management agencies stand to benefit from this study. Empirically, the outcome of this research will enable the general public and government to grasp the effect of managing water quality in households and factors that impede/hamper the implementation of water management in Imo State. Theoretically, this study will make a useful contribution in the field of management as it will serve as another source of knowledge in the management of water and material resources of the various establishments in Nigeria.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on water management strategy used by rural households, a case study of Isunjaba L.G.A in Imo state.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Water: the clear liquid that has no colour, taste, or smell, that falls from clouds as rain, that forms streams, lakes, and seas, and that is used for drinking, washing, etc. : an area of water (such as a lake, river, or ocean) waters : a specific area of water; especially : an area of seawater.
Groundwater: Water that infiltrates and is stored in the spaces between particles in the earth.
Surface Water: Is water on the surface of the planet such as in a river, lake, wetland, or ocean. It can be contrasted with groundwater and atmospheric water.
Household: Is a social or economic unit consisting of one or more individuals, whether related or not, who live together and share both the pot and the roof.
Rural: Is the remote area far away from the seat of government and having no infrastructural facilities, where the major economic activity was agricultural production.
Strategy: Is the method adopted for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time.
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