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Community Management of potable water projects – Challenges for Sustainability: A case study of hand-dug wells in Shuwa and Potiskum Districts in North East Nigeria.

The 2006 Human Development Report looks at water as an issue that profoundly influences human potential and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). The report acknowledges that there is more than enough water in the world for domestic purposes, for agriculture and for industry. Despite the abundance of water in the world today, its management has always been an issue of concern for governments and some organisations around the world. The importance of water management cannot be overemphasised. This research was inspired by an awareness of the poor management of water projects in some parts of Nigeria. The study was conducted with the following specific objectives:

  • To establish those who participate in community well water projects in Shuwa and Potiskum Districts.
  • To find out the current system of the management of hand-dug well water projects in Shuwa and Potiskum districts.
  • To examine the management challenges of hand-dug well water projects in Shuwa and Potiskum districts.
  • To suggest how community well water projects can be sustained. To find out the role of the community, agencies and government in ensuring the sustainability of each well.

The study was conducted in two districts in North East Nigeria – Shuwa in Adamawa State and Potiskum in Yobe State. Four hand-dug wells selected from the two districts, were used as a case study. The research was conducted using qualitative research methodology. The methods for collecting data were: secondary data review, Focus Group Discussions (FGD), key informant interviews and personal observation.

The findings established that the key stakeholders in the hand-dug well water projects in Shuwa and Potiskum districts are the local communities, the JDPC, and the Local Government Water Resources Department in each district. The research revealed that the two districts have several challenges in the management of their hand-dug wells. These challenges hamper the effective management and sustainability of the hand-dug well water projects. The findings in both districts also revealed that community well water projects can be sustained if the different stakeholders – the community, JDPC and the government play their roles effectively in the projects. Furthermore, the findings showed that an individualistic style of leadership is used to manage three out of the four hand-dug wells studied. The research findings suggest that the current community management of hand-dug well water projects in the two districts needs to be improved to ensure longer term sustainability. A number of recommendations were made based on the literature review, findings, analysis and conclusions.

Stephen Dami Mamza (2010)

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