The topic of this essay is to relate the concept of integrated water management and decision support to an example of my country, including an example of how decisions are actually made.
About 71% of earth surface is water covered, the ocean holds 95% of earth’s water (http://water.usgs.gov/edu/earthhowmuch.html) yet there is not enough water in some parts of the world. The rise in demand for good portable drinking water, irrigation water, domestic and industrial water all came up due to the growing population especially in the Africa and Asian continent (UNDP 2006). Water will continue to be in expectancy due to some environmental concerns like wildlife and aquatic life for recreational purposes. However, the theory for theory for integrated water management was never new and can be seen in Rahamana and Varis (2005); equally a strong definition of IWM was given by technical advisory committee of global water partnership (GWP-TEC 2000) As a process which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and other related resources in order to maximize results economically and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability and the ecosystems. Furthermore, in providing adequate supplies of good water, precaution should be taken into consideration in order the preserve hydrological, biological and chemical activities of the ecosystem. Therefore we can draw a brief summary of IWM as putting together social economic and environmental issues, including adopting human activities within the capacity time fame of nature (Gumbo, B. and Van der Zaag 2001); as well as tackling water related diseases and coming into terms with change of climate (Wood, S. et al 2000).
Nigeria water sector will be used as a case study in this essay of which I am a citizen of the country by birth. This essay will outline how decision are actually made in management of river basin in Nigeria and will possibly come out with a solution of how to remedy some areas that are not well managed and a personal conclusions.
2 The Nigeria Water sector
Nigeria has about eleven river basin development authorities, created in 1976, by the Federal Government to harness the country’s water resources and optimize the country’s agricultural resources. The RBDAs includes the Sokoto-Rima basin, Hadejia-Jamaare basin, the Lake Chad basin, upper Benue basin, lower Benue basin, the cross river basin, Anambra-Imo basin, the Niger-Delta basin, Benin-Owena basin, the Niger basin and the Oshun-Ogun basin (Ewash 2009).
Nigeria as a nation covers 0.924*106 km2 on landmass (Ita, 1994) with four major drainage basin areas the lower Niger, the lake Chad basin, the river basin of Cross and Imo and the southwestern drainage basins (Federal ministry of water resources 2003a, b). Nigeria is blessed with water resources, its surface and ground water resources are estimated at 250*109 m3 (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2001). The annual rainfall varies from over 4,000mm in the southeast to bellow 250mm in the northeast and conditioned to temporal variations (Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004), it implies that precipitation is about 1177mm annually.
Most of the problems facing water management in Nigeria are lack of experts, especially in the technical side. The nonchalant attitude and poor funding shown in water sector has increased the low performance which can be witnessed all over the country. The lack of appropriate work force in Nigerian water sector has been perpetrated by the introduction of tribalism and quota system (FCC 19969); there by sidelining the professionals with adequate experience. Unfortunately this type of method has not yielded desired results in the sector. Therefore the need for change in strategy arises for the real caliber of people to manage the various schemes, without constant break down of water sector that we now experience in the country.
Accesses to water in some regions are still very low despite the large available water resources in the country (Federal Republic of Nigeria). The number of investment in water sector is not encouraging when compared to the population growth and rapid expansion of many cities. The development of dams and irrigation in the country are not encouraging as most of this dams and lakes build in the past are underutilized while some have been abounded (YallAfrica 2012).
2.1 Concept Capacity Building:
The introduction of concept capacity building is currently seen as the process whereby communities equipped themselves to undertake the functions of the state and service provision in a sustainable manner. This process is aimed at both increasing access to resource and changing the methods of relationship between the parties involved. Greater understanding is needed in the capacity building process as well as planning, designing and implementation of the activities needed (Groote and van de Molen 2000). The concept as well recognized the development and acquiring of knowledge
Water as a resource cannot be over looked, it is important for the sustenance of living things can widely be accepted all over the world. Integrated water management requires a straight approach, combining social and economic development with preservation of natural eco-system.
Effective management includes land and water users all over the specified areas or the ground water aquifer, fresh water resource is a natural asset that needs to be sustained and maintained. The principle of IWRM recognizes the fact that water is required for many different purposes. Therefore management has to be holistic and concerned about the demand placed on the resource and the threat to its survival.
2.2 Integrated Approach
The facts still remain that water and river basin management and integration demands a combination of information from different discipline which can be analyzed in order to get desired results. Integrating and management of water resource in Nigeria has often been seen from the angle of boundary rather than basin. This has led to the underdevelopment of the country’s water resources and equally made the management of such development ineffective. Effective integrated water management in Nigeria requires a strong participatory method in the development of the nation’s water resource, which is one of the best means to achieve long lasting consensus and common agreement within the stake holders (Truffer, B. at el 1998). This method comprises creating awareness for important of good and affordable fresh water among the policy makers and the entire public. Achieving this means that most decisions would be considered at the lowest appropriate category with full public consultation, planning and implementation of water projects. Proper participation involves all parties who rely on particular water management and investment decisions, although considerable efforts have been made to
identify the factors that influence integrated water management, which some of the answers are not attached to the policy making (Gooch and Stalnacke 2010b).
3 Implementation of needed Strategy
Government through its mechanism should equally create an acceptable playing level group for all the parties involved in the management of water resources as well as give a special consideration to the host communities of river basin through training and acquisition program, especially to the minorities and encourage women empowerment. There is urgent need for all to participate in the decision-making including the social groups.
Management can enhanced the achievement of sustainability and managing water in an integrated sustainable way if all the stake holders’ interests are being considered. Currently there are lot of ways the stake holders can be involved in the decision and management of their current environmental issues (Gooch and Huitema 2008). Nevertheless, understanding the scientific approach in integrating water resource may be strange to some groups, because of lack of knowledge concerning the interpretation of scientific results. Good and bad water management through IWM can be as dangerous as a matter of life and death in some parts of the country, this is the reason why most regions or host communities that are affected by the management of this important resource, should be highly involved in the discussions as to the best possible way to manage it. Ways to involve these regions and host communities in the formation of programs are through the use of past, present and future scenarios (Alcamo 2001; shell international 2003).
It is very important to recognize that humans have right to access clean and portable water, through affordable means. Water as a commodity has a value and the failures in integrated water management comes as a result that full value has not been given to the water resource, this has led to the wasteful and degradation of our eco-system, there by resulting to environmental failure. Achieving economic value on water is an important means for accurate decision making on the distribution of water between separate water sectors and different parties within the sector.
Placing a monetary value or something in exchange for water can act as a principle of demand and supply which the proceed can be used in alienating disadvantage communities, social groups, state or affected regions as well as reinvesting it for continuous and sustainable water
supply (ADB 2003). In addition, economic consideration of alternative water users provides decision makers a unique guide to investment priorities. Although it should not be the only aspect to be considered, social economic goals as well plays a vital part in integrated water resource management (Pereira, L.S. at el 2002).
With ongoing increasing of Nigerian population and unstable climate change has resulted in heavy demand for water resource now and in the future. Accurate means and approach should be given to the integrated management principles for the development, sustainable and prevention of ecological catastrophe. Both domestic and commercial water management should be integrated with other relevant management principles.
Wrong decision stake holder will definitely affect other groups involved in the management and implementation of integrated strategy towards water management. Therefore a lot of communication and research that will involve the interpretation of some scientific findings to all the stake holders for proper understanding that a wrong/right decision on water management is vital to the survival of people.
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