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JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT VOLUME 8 NO 1, JUNE, 2010


TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE WATER SUPPLY IN IDAH

Ato, E. Shenge
Department of Urban &Regional Planning, Federal Polytechnic, Idah
E-mail: shengeato@yahoo.com

Abstract
The study has observed the irregularity of public water supply in Idah. The irregularity is traced to the ineffectiveness of the institution put in place for managing public water supply as is found in most urban areas in Nigeria. An alternative management strategy has been explored. The study recommended commercialization of the water sector through public/private partnership for efficiency.

Keywords: Commercialization, public, water, supply



Introduction
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has as one of its target; “reduction by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water by 2020”. But the poor performance in this sector by governments especially in the developing countries has left no one in doubts that the target is a mirage.  This is because; most countries have failed to develop an efficient water supply system. The failure has been attributed to inadequate finance to build, maintain and expand the system; the availability of finance especially for daily operations and maintenance in view of the low level of public finances for urban development, including water supply (Urban Age, 1993).

Although, many urban areas in Nigeria have public water works operating for a long time, hardly is any performing efficiently. Most urban areas at present lack public supply system that could ensure regularity. The outputs from these systems meet the needs of a small percentage of population (Ayoade, 1981:361-372). Large areas of urban environment do not have network connections.  In view of the above, urban water supplies in Nigeria are supplemented with alternative sources which in most cases are not safe for human consumption.  The public water supply system itself is riddled with so much leakages that a high level of bacteriological contamination occur. This renders the pipe system hardly safer than the wells (Dada, Okuofo and Yusuf, 1990).

Institutional framework for public water supply in Nigeria
In Nigeria like many other developing countries, public water supply is commonly undertaken by government parastatal (variously called Water Boards or Water Corporation) as social services, but the cost has been so high that such parastatals have difficulty in providing efficient services.   Problems like absence of clear objectives, low wages and poor equipment supplies have been extensively cited as the typical institutional characteristics of water supply agencies in Nigeria (Yakubu, 1995:22).

Performance assessment of these institutions has reveal weakness in the following areas:

  • Low output performance: The quantity of water produced is far below per capita requirement of the population; the quality is also poor with irregular supplies.
  • Ineffective delivery system: Low population is served due to poor spatial coverage of the network.
  • Poor financial base: Low financial performance ratios and low internal revenue generation.

Concerned with the problems enumerated, there have been many calls for change in the management and policy in the water sector including the use of privatization. This is because; attempts to improve the supply situation by simply injecting funds have proved to be wasteful.

Finance in water supply management
The national policy on water has come up with a financing strategy that requires cost sharing approach involving the Federal, State, Local government and individual communities concerned as shown below.


Table 1: Cost sharing for capital investment in water provision


Level

Rural

Semi-Urban

Urban

Federal

50%

50%

30%

State

25%

30%

30%

Local

20%

15%

10%

Communities

5%

5%

-

Total

100%

100%

100%

Source: National Water Policy (2000)


The nature of water supply in both the rural and urban areas depends on the extent to which the various tiers of government have adhered to the cost sharing formula.

Consumption standards in Nigeria
The national policy on water stipulates the following water consumption standards for Nigeria:
For urban water supply, the policy maintains a standard of 120 litres/capita/day served by full reticulation and consumer premises connection.  Semi-urban area water supply is to achieve a minimum standard of 60 litres/capita/day with reticulation but limited full consumer connection.  For the rural areas, a standard of 30 litres/capita/day within the community serving about    250 – 500 persons/water points is the minimum desirable requirement.  

Possible alternative management strategy in water supply in Nigeria
Commercialization is now being favoured by government as a realistic solution to the challenges of sustaining urban infrastructure in general. The interest in commercialization is based on the conviction that substantial capacity exist for internal revenue generation from full user-charge if only there is favourable disposition towards its exploitation.  Shaibu (2007:50-54) has recommended privatization of the water sector at two levels: public-private partnership and outright privatization through the system of boreholes. Atser and Beulah (2004:42) has expressed displeasure that numerous borehole construction may lead to a depletion of the water table and salt water intrusion may occur especially during dry season when large quantities of water is pumped out. They suggested acquiring and treating water from the rivers.  This parallel argument may be harmonized by any institution taking up water supply project anywhere in Nigeria.

Research problem
The present public water supply situation in developing countries including Nigeria and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on water supply may not be possible.  This situation now calls for a shift in management policy. This is because; the public supply system has collapsed in many parts of Nigeria. Commercialization is now being favoured by government as a realistic solution to the challenges of sustaining urban infrastructure in general (Sani, 2002:3)

In Idah, about 75% of the total populations source their water from the river (Shaibu, 2007:37). If this trend continues, the MDGs on water supply may not be achieved in the town. This research seeks to assess the regularity of various sources of water supply in Idah, with a view to exploring the possibility of commercialization of the water sector.

 Objectives
The aim of this study is to identity a sustainable policy for public water supply that would achieve the Millennium Development Goals for Idah.

The objectives to achieve the goal include:

  • To investigate the status of public water supply in Idah in terms of availability and regularity.
  • To determine per capita use vis-à-vis the national requirement.
  • To assess the capacity of users to support commercialization.
  • To evaluate the implication of the findings for an appropriate policy on water supply in the study area and Nigeria.

Research questions
The research seeks to answer the following questions:

  • What is the pattern of access to water supply in the area?
  • Is there significant capacity to support commercialization in the study area as the policy require?
  • What will be the implication of the study on the commercialization policy for urban water supply in Nigeria?

The study area
The study area is Idah, the ancient town and headquarters of Igala kingdom in Kogi State. The town is situated at the bank of River Niger in the East. Its longitudinal location is 6°43″; latitudinal, it is found at 7°06″. The surface area is made up of low angle hills, slopes and lower ground. The climate is typically the savanna type. Based on its location, it is supposed to have denser vegetation than the derived savanna found presently.

The indigenous population is typically Igala; they are both Christians and Moslems. Few of them are farmers and majority are traders. The National Population Commission in the 2006 census put the population of Idah at over 79,000 with an official growth rate of 2.9%. The town is accessed to other parts of the country by Idah-Anyigba road, as well as river Niger, which is crossed through engine boat.

Public water supply is sourced from Inachalo stream, a tributary of the river Niger. There are seven boreholes owned privately. The Water Board, which is charged with the responsibility of supplying water to the public is put in place with limited capacity and very inactive. The G.R.A and Igalaogba which are neighbourhoods connected to the pipe system can hardly boast of supply twice a week. It is believed by the residents that even the irregular supplies are not treated.

Methodoogy
Data collection
 A household questionnaire was structured to gather data on the water supply situation in the study area; heads of households were the sampling elements.

Sampling technique
 Eight neighbourhods of Idah which form its basic structure were identified and questionnaires administered on a three-stage cluster sampling design with the eight neighbourhoods forming the first stage clusters. In the second stage, each of the neighbourhoods was divided into two. A lattice of sixteen (16) sampling areas emerged from which groups of streets blocks were identified.

Using the systematic random sampling procedure, twenty houses/compounds were selected in each neighbourhood.

A personal interview was held with the authorities of Idah Water Board as well as tanker Drivers Association, who are the major stakeholders in water supply in the area.

Data analysis
 Tables and percentages were used in analyzing the collected data.

Findings and discussions

  • The study has observed that supply from the stream is the most regular source accounting for 97%. This is made possible through vending by Water Tanker Drivers Association.
  • Water consumption in the town is far below the national requirement standard of 120 litres per capita/day (appendix ii).
  • The study has shown that consumers are willing to pay higher tariffs. This is shown in appendix iii
  • The present cost of water in Idah from borehole is N5.00 per 10 litres. This is slightly higher relative to their income. If we go by that cost vis-à-vis the standard requirement, the inhabitants will spend N60.00 per capita/day, N1, 800.00 per capita/month and N21, 600.00 per capita /annum. It should be noted that water from river also cost within the same range.
  • The inhabitants’ income and willingness to pay is sufficient to support commercialization of public water.

Conclusion
This research has recommended that public water supply be privatized in the study area for efficiency in meeting the MDGs requirement of water for all by 2020. The privatization can be done through public-private partnership where the government can provide the facility for water supply and the management left in the hands of private individuals or associations. It is hoped that this management strategy will make the commodity cheap and therefore affordable by all.

Finally, the study is a pioneer work in the water sector especially as regards to management strategies. The government at any level in Nigeria can use this study as a base for the proposed commercialization/privatization of the water sector.

References
Atser, J. and Beulah, O. (2004) Perspectives on spatial aspect of sustainable water supply in Benue State.Journal of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners. Vol. 17

Ayoade, J.O.  (1981) On water rehabilitation and demand in Nigeria: Water Supply and
Management 5(4/5).

Dada, Okuofo and Yusuf (1990) The relationship between chlorine residual and
bacteriological quantity of tap water in the water distribution system of Zaria, Nigeria  Savanna.

Federal Government of Nigeria (2006) National Population Commission, Abuja.

Federal Government of Nigeria (2000) National Water Policy, Abuja.

Sani, M. (2002) Willingness to pay for Public Water Supply and the applicability of
Commercialization in Nigeria – Case Study of Zaria: Proposal for Doctoral Research. Department of Urban and Regional Planning, A.B.U. Zaria.

Shaibu, R.O. (2007) An assessment of public water supply in Idah.HND Dissertation,
Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Federal Polytechnic, Idah.

TOPREC and NITP (2006) Mandatory Continuing Professional Development Programme.

Urban Age, 1993 The changing nature of infrastructure: urban infrastructure issues. the
World Bank, Washington D.C.

Yakubu, N.(1995) “Water supply services: Kaduna State – Nigeria” Southborough
University of Technology, Unpublished M.Sc. Thesis.



Appendix I: Regularity of various sources of water supply in Idah

 

Source

Response

Regular

Not Regular

Pipe-borne
Bore-hole
Stream

0(0%)
12(07%)
150 (97%)

154(100%)
142(92%)
04 (02%)

Source: Field Survey, 2008.
 From the table, it can be inferred that the supply from the stream is the most regular source accounting for 97%. This is made available through vending by water Tankers Drivers Association.
Appendix II: Per capita use per day in Litres


Quantity of Water

Response

% Response

0 – 30 litres

62

40

31 – 60 litres

59

38

61 – 90 litres

23

15

91 – 120 litres

08

05

Above 120 litres
Total

02
154

1.0
99.0

Source: Field Survey, 2008.
The table has shown that, water consumption in the area is not far from the national standards of 120 litres for urban areas and 60 litres for semi-urban areas. Idah is a semi urban area with a population of approximately 80,000, the demand for water per capita per day will be 4,800,000 litres.

Appendix III: Willingness to pay higher tariffs structure

 

Neighbourhood

Response

Yes

No

Total

Akpatega

14

04

18

Ede

12

06

18

Ega

11

09

20

Igalaogba

17

02

19

Igechaba

08

12

20

Inachalo

13

06

19

Sabongari

17

03

20

Ukwaja

11

09

20

Total

103

51

154

Source: Field Survey, 2008.
The table above has shown that 66% of the inhabitants favour potable water which may likely cost slightly higher than the amount they pay presently.

Appendix IV: Income of the people


Income per annum (N)

Response

% Response

1000 – 30,000

07

05

31,000 – 60,000

10

06

61,000 – 90,000

30

19

91,000 – 120,000

61

40

121,000 & above

46

30

Source: Author’s Field Survey, 2008.
The cost of water from boreholes in Idah is presently N5.00 per 10 litres. If we go by the standard of the National Policy on water supply in urban areas of 120 litres/capita/day, the cost of potable water per capita per day will be N60.00; per capita/month will be N1,800.00; per capita/annum is likely to be N21,600.00.