Participatory water governance in Nigeria: Towards the development of an effective legal framework for rural communities

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Aluta, E. (2017) Participatory water governance in Nigeria: Towards the development of an effective legal framework for rural communities. PhD, University of the West of England. Available from:

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Nigeria’s legal framework for supporting the supply of potable water has not proven to be effective. This is primarily due to the non-participation of a broad spectrum of stakeholders, particularly rural community members. A contextualised policy re-orientation through the use of participatory governance may, however, support the development of a more sustainable potable water supply for rural communities. A novel participatory water governance framework, designed to enable effective potable water management for rural communities, has been developed in this study. A conceptual framework drawing on a synthesis of the extant literature provides the basis for a qualitative empirical inquiry. Semi-structured interview with participants who were selected by using a purposive strategy, helped to inform the development of the proposed framework. A key factor of the framework is the establishment of a rural advisory board, which may explore relevant techniques relating to transparency, accountability and participation, customary norms and values, laws, regulations, policies and community task forces. The findings identify that rural community members have capacity to collaborate with state actors and donors in governing their own potable water, enhanced by proximal relationships. This may be inferred from an existing culture of participation in Nigeria, with its own enforcement of customary norms and values through ostracism, enabling compliance and enforcement to governance rules. The findings support a power shift from the centralised government institutional management to a governance of pluralistic process incorporating localised cultural norms. Thus, participatory democratisation may be reasonably institutionalised by using established decision-making processes. These findings have been incorporated into a refined conceptual framework, validated by using the mixed methods approach. The study contributes to knowledge by the theoretical formulation and proposition that participation theory may support the effectiveness of potable water management, while contextualised participatory water governance techniques may be specifically explored to support the legal framework for water supply. The use of socio-legal research methodology provides a further contribution to knowledge, through the exploration of the qualitative approach. The approach provides empirical understanding and interpretation of inquiry, based on several techniques via thematic content analysis. In its conclusion, the study makes recommendations to water resource stakeholders to adopt the practices of decentralization, integration and co-ordinated decision-making in participatory water governance, which may include ostracism for compliance and enforcement of governing rules, under a rural advisory board.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nigeria, water, rural
Faculty/Department: Faculty of Environment and Technology
Depositing User: E. Aluta
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2017 12:53
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2018 10:22


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