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Date of Award

9-1998

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Geography

Supervisor

Dr. P.S. Kanaroglou

Abstract

Many rural water projects fail because planners do not understand how local populations relate to, and use domestic water. Although domestic use accounts for about 9% of the consumptive use of water in sub-Saharan Africa, the benefits associated with improved access to it are immense. The study investigated domestic water use in the water-deficient semi-arid Nigeria, using a case study of Katarko. Detailed socio-demographic data known to affect water demand, were compared with aggregate data at the national and regional levels. The high population growth rate, low economic status of the women and the declining water availability present a good recipe for unsustainable water resource development and use in Katarko. Katarko relies on stream flow, rainfall, ground water and ponds for its domestic needs, with ground water being the only source that can supply perennial water. Distance was identified as the most important factor in the choice of a water source. A tradeoff exists between using good quality water and the effort it takes to obtain it. Using culturally-constructed measures of water quality, the study found that the locals perceive the quality of water they use as higher in the rainy, than in the dry season. Cloth filtration is the preferred method of water purification, followed by the addition of anthill soil, while boiling ranks third. Multiple regression models were used to study demand in the dry and rainy seasons, when water is scarce and abundant respectively. The levels of explanation provided by the rainy season and dry season models are 51.2% and 91.1%, respectively. The lower explanatory power of the rainy season model may be an indication of wasteful use when water is abundant. Overall, the results show that although most of the determinants of water demand in both seasons are subject to socio-cultural interpretations, one can approach the management of it with economic principles. Incorporating the socio-demographic variables that affect domestic water demand into projections further reveals how changes in the variables affect future demand. Modeling seasonal variations in demand provides a glimpse of how consumers will adapt their demands to increased water supply. Geographical accessibility is a major factor in the underutilization of rural water facilities in Nigeria, because facilities are often not optimally sited. This research demonstrates the utility of location-allocation modeling as a decision support tool in siting rural water facilities, where they are accessible to users and yield the highest social welfare returns. The option of either providing new wells that are optimally distributed, or rehabilitating existing wells as requested by the community was examined. The research recommended the provision of a new set of optimal wells, in view of the offsetting benefits associated with them. The results of the study contribute conceptually and factually to the understanding of domestic water demand in rural areas of developing countries.

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