1 Joshua Olorundare
2 Ann Olorundare
1 Department of Geography
Kogi State College of Education, Ankpa
2 Department of French
Kogi State College of Education, Ankpa
The study on Public perception of alternative water supply in Makurdi metropolis was based on a pool of opinions in some selected areas of Makurdi town. It was observed that public water supply had failed to meet the need for water in the town, and a large number of households have turned to alternative water supply. The work set out to find out the number of people involved in these alternative water sources, the availability of these alternative water sources and how accessible they are for the people. The survey design was used and four hundred households were sampled with structured questionnaires which were distributed in the study area. The information gathered from the questionnaire was analyzed with statistical table and regression analysis. It was discovered that the alternative sources available are highly accessible as revealed by the regression analysis used. It was also discovered that the alternative sources are not effective based on the same test. It was recommended that both government and private sectors should be involved in standardizing and developing this available alternative to the required standard for water supply policy. It was also suggested that a policy stating required standard for these alternatives should be enacted by the government to regulate and control their establishment.
Keywords: public perception, alternative water supply, availability, accessibility and effectiveness of the alternative sources of water supply.
Public water supply in Nigeria became a concern early in the twentieth century in a few towns managed at the lowest administrative level by the local towns. Among the early towns with public water supply were Lagos, Calabar, Kano, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Ijebu-Ode (Ogun State) and Enugu. Today, all the 36 states of Nigeria including Benue state and the Federal Capital Territory have water supply agencies called “Water Board”, managing public water supply. Enger and Smith (1998) and Ocheri (2006) maintain that domestic activities in highly urbanized areas like Makurdi require a great deal of water for domestic uses which include drinking, air conditioning, bathing, washing of clothes, washing dishes and car, flushing toilets and watering lawns and gardens. On the average they maintain that, each household in Makurdi has a total mean water demand and consumption of 260,404 litres (LPD) and 122,698 litres (LPD). This translates to 47 percent of the water requirements satisfied by the Water Board or utility supply. This implies that households in Makurdi could not meet a greater percentage of their daily water needs. There is therefore a high dependency on alternative sources of water such as rivers, wells, bore holes, and water vendors in the city, to cope with the gap between demand and supply of water. Most of this domestic water is used as a solvent to carry away wastes, with only a small amount used for drinking. However, it is expected that all water that enters the house has to be purified and treated to make it safe for consumption, but increasing purification costs have raised the price of domestic water and it is evident that increased costs have reduce supply of potable water in Makurdi metropolis. And for this reason and others the demand for potable water in Makurdi town exceeds the immediate supply. This is especially true during the dry season, when water demand is high and precipitation is often low.
Many diseases which are endemic in some notable parts of the town are associated with unhygienic alternative sources of drinking water supplies. According to Suswan (2009), the water problem in Makurdi has persisted even with the presence of River Benue which sometime overflows its banks. He said Makurdi used to record deaths arising from cholera, and other diseases like diarrhea, dysentery, gastro-enteritis, infectious hepatitis, hookworms, guinea worm and other parasitic infections, especially in Wadata and North-bank areas where water hawkers sell untreated water from River Benue to consumers. As the percentage of people with access to safe water in the town is low, the direct health repercussions the situation imposes, especially among children are often underestimated.
Despite, all the measures adopted to cope with water supply needs of Makurdi town by the utility agency; their operational efficiency is unacceptably low in the city. It is revealed by the visit to the board, that insufficient financial resources for funding the board, unmotivated staff and highly politicized tariff regimes on the institutional side are major constraints. On the physical side, aging pipes, frequent breaks, unreliable and unstable supply of electrical energy or fuel and treatment chemicals and treatment works in poor condition are major problems of the Water Board in Makurdi. Thus the board is currently unable to meet the existing demand for safe water within the town and the suburbs.
The problems of Makurdi water supply utilities are compounded by the inclusion of catchment and extension areas which come under the jurisdiction of the main utility. The services available to such surrounding cities are drastically reduced even compared to the sporadic services offered to main city residents. Adequate water supply worsens during the dry season when hand dug wells run dry and water stagnates or reduces in the river channel and there are general changes in ground water availability. The dry season affects both the quantity and quality of the sources which people depend on as they reduce considerably.
It is in this sense that the study set out to investigate the opinions of the people about the water supply situation in Makurdi metropolis.
Statement of the Research Problems
Due to the problems encountered by the Benue State Water Board and the daily increase in demand for water as a result of constant increase in population of Makurdi town, potable water supply has become inadequate for the people. As a result of this water shortage, the people often resort to different alternative sources as a strategy to cope with the stress of water supply. The alternative sources include rivers, streams, boreholes, shallow hand-dug wells, reservoirs and water vendors, etc. There are also social, economical, technological and environmental constraints that limit the effectiveness of these alternative sources. This study therefore surveys the availability, accessibility and the effectiveness of these alternative water supplies in Makurdi town.
Aims and Objectives
This paper surveys the availability, accessibility and effectiveness of the alternative sources adopted to complement shortage of water supply in Makurdi town.
The specific objectives of the study are
- To identify the availability of alternative sources of domestic water supply.
- To examine the accessibility of these alternative sources.
- To assess the effectiveness of the sources identified.
Ho1: There is no significant relationship between the alternative sources available and the distance covered to fetch water.
Ho2: There is no relationship between availability and effectiveness of the alternative sources of water supply.
The literature review is divided into alternative sources of domestic water supply and the public perception of alternative sources.
Public Perception of Alternative Sources
Public perception is the aggregate of individual attitudes or belief held by the adult population. Public perception which is the same as public opinion can also be defined as the complex collection of opinions of many different people and the sum of all their views (Babara, 2011).
The opinions of people were sought on availability, accessibility and effectiveness of alternative water sources. Several case studies have revealed that over one billion people lack this basic right and more than two million people endure the sickness, shame and indignity that results from inadequate provision of the amenity (Safwat, 2000 Alagh, 2001; Robert, 2002; Sullivan, 2002; Richard, 2003 Yudith, 2008). It was observed by Ocheri (2006) that households in Makurdi could only meet 47 percent of water requirements satisfied by utility board water supply, which results in high dependency of alternative sources to complement their water demand.
The International Technology Development Group (ITDG) (2009) reports that over one billion people are without access to improved water, and that a child dies every fifteen seconds from disease related to unsafe water. This was also confirmed in Makurdi by Suswam (2009) that Makurdi records deaths arising from cholera epidemic, especially in Wadata and North- bank. Access to water refers to water in the right quantity and quality at the right moment and at the right place. Water accessibility refers to distance covered in kilometers before you can conveniently obtain the required quantity. In short, water available for use, is the water in the form in which nature offers. More often, it is water conveyed by infrastructure which can include reservoirs, dams, pipes and groundwater pump. It is expected that all water that enters the house has to be purified and treated to make it safe for consumption. Until recently, the cost of water in Makurdi town has been so low that there was very little incentive to conserve, people use treated water to wash cars, dishes, flush toilet and other uses, but increasing purification costs have raised the price of domestic water and it is becoming evident that increased costs tend to reduce use.
Alternative Sources of Domestic Water Supply
Oyegun (2001), states that in an effort to obtain reliable water supply, the developed nations of the world have dammed and flooded river channels, piped, pumped, diverted, rechanneled and altered the courses of major rivers. Clark (1991), asserts that countries in Europe and the America have removed salt from sea water, contemplated the delivery of water by super-tanker and even towing of icebergs from Antarctic region to melt down as tap water. In recent times, many countries, both developed and developing have resorted to the use of artificial lakes (dams) for multi-purpose regional development. This is the major reason for the establishment of River Basin Development Authority (RBDA) in Nigeria of which Makurdi happens to be the Headquarter of Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority. Water abstraction is done along the course of the river at convenient locations where treatment plants can be installed. The treated water is stored and subsequently piped to the town where it is in high demand.
Climate change, population growth and human activities have polluted the available water, making it unsafe for domestic uses. Most of the residents resort to water sources in the form of rain harvesting, pounding, use of tube wells (borehole), shallow hand-dug wells, creeks, streams, rivers which are sometimes quite distant from households.
The effectiveness of alternative sources of water supply was assessed in terms of water reliability, adequacy and sustainability of water supply throughout the year in a particular source. In the context of this study, effectiveness refers to whether water is available in a source throughout the year or reduces during the dry season or eventually dries up in the dry season.
The design of the Study was survey. According to Nworgu (1991), a survey research is one in which a group of people or items is studied by collecting and analyzing data from only a few people or items considered to be representative to the entire group.
Population of the Study
The population for this study was all the household in Makurdi metropolis that use public water supply for domestic purposes. The target population consisted of households in eight wards of Makurdi town.
The sample size of this study was four hundred households gotten from eight wards of the metropolis. The distribution was as follows: High Level (50), North Bank (41), Wadata (39), Wurukum (44), Central (45), Old GRA (43), New GRA (36) and Ankpa (48). The wards were sampled based on their population.
Simple random sampling was used to select four hundred households that were used as sample for the study. In each ward, even and odd numbers written on pieces of paper were folded and a selection was made. Where an even number was selected, the sampled households came from even house number and vice versa.
Instrument for Data Collection
The instrument used for this study was a structured questionnaire. In this kind of questionnaire, the respondent is restricted to some response options.
Method of Data Collection
This instrument was administered by the researcher. The researcher personally approached the household heads. After explaining to them, the researcher gave them the questionnaire to fill and the researcher also read and explained how to fill the questionnaire to the respondents.
Method of Data Analysis
Descriptive statistics was used in the analysis of the data. Regression analysis was employed to test the strength of relationship between availability and accessibility and availability and effectiveness of the alternative sources of water.
Table 2: Sources of Domestic Water Supply in Makurdi
|Sources||Central||New GRA||Old GRA||North Bank||Wadata||High Level||Wurukum||Ankpa||Total|
The survey reveals that the following alternative sources of water supply are available in Makurdi metropolis: reservoirs, hand-dug shallow wells, tube wells (boreholes) water vendors and river water. According to the data, very many people depend on wells (41.9%), a large proportion of the population on boreholes (20.4%), water vendors (15.7%), and river (10.7%) while others depend on reservoirs.
Table 3a: Percentage respondents of Availability and Effectiveness of Alternative water supply in Makurdi
|Sources||Availability (%)||Effectiveness (%)|
According to Spearman ranked correlation co-efficient (r) calculated is 0.80. This indicates a positive relationship between availability of alternative source and their accessibility. There is a high level of accessibility for every available alternative source.
Since the obtained Zr > z0.05, that is 1.55, and it is high. It falls within the critical region for rejecting Ho– There is no significance relationship between availability of alternative sources and the accessibility of the sources. Therefore alternative hypothesis which is H1 is therefore accepted. H1 – There is significant relationship between availability of alternative sources and the accessibility of the sources. That is to say that far distance above 0.5km reduces the use of a source as alternative water supply in Makurdi metropolis and distances less than 0.5km increase the use of the alternative source.
The second hypothesis = Ho– There is no significant relationship between availability of alternative sources and the effectiveness of the sources.
The spearman ranked correlation coefficient indicates that the ® calculated is 0.20. This obtained value suggests that there is limited positive relationship between availability of alternative sources and the effectiveness, that is, water reliability, adequacy and sustainability of the sources. And the Zr test at 5% critical level i.e. Zr > z0.05 is 0.29 which is less than Z at critical value of 5% and it falls within the region for accepting the hypothesis. Ho – There is no significant relationship between availability of alternative water sources and the effectiveness of the sources.
The study shows that there is high significant relationship between alternative sources (river, well, borehole, water vendor and reservoirs) and their accessibility, that is, the distance covered in kilometer before they fetch water from a particular source. Accessibility plays major roles in the usage of the available alternative sources of water supply in Makurdi. In another way all the alternative sources of water supply in Makurdi town have a high degree of accessibility for usage. The strength of relationship between alternative sources and the effectiveness of the sources was low and that indicates limited relationship. This suggests that water reduces in volume in the rivers, streams, some boreholes and some hand dug wells, while others naturally dry up thereby increasing the burden of water supply during the dry season of the year.
- The alternative sources identified, that is, shallow wells, boreholes, streams, water vendors, reservoirs and rain harvest which indicate high accessibility should be properly monitored and their establishment regulated for adequate compliance with water supply standards.
- The alternative sources of supply and effectiveness have a low positive relationship, suggesting that the population runs short of supply in some periods of the year. Water supply, mostly in the dry season is inadequate. Water reservoirs should be built by the government to harvest enough water needed by the people in the city. They can learn from the Indian women initiative.
- There should be more user participation in form of cooperative societies where people can put resources together to construct standard alternative sources that can effectively serve the people with the required quantity of water through out the year.
- This study is to sensitize both the government and non-governmental organizations on the need to move in the direction of providing adequate and quality water for the population of Makurdi city in order to prevent water crisis and further outbreak of diseases, related to water pollution and other environmental disaster.
Contribution to Knowledge
This study creates awareness of water shortage and the need to take drastic measures in tackling this problem in Makurdi metropolis. The study reveals the need to upgrade public water supply and develop appropriate operational standards for the alternative water sources in the town.
It provides a basis for other researchers interested in a similar study in Makurdi metropolis.
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