To increase the united Nation’s chance of achieving its Sustainable Development goal of providing clean water and sanitation especially in the developing world, a new approach that combines sustainable water resources management with mass reorientation of rural populations must become a priority. This is important considering the increasing global water stress faced by humans and the occasional knowledge gap in demand management and conservation between developed and developing regions where the majority live in rural areas. Contemporary endeavours often focus on providing technology and introducing practices that improve or preserve water quality and quantity. But some of these efforts suffer either from a failure to correctly interface with existing local practices or an inability to adequately address the local knowledge gap. This study addressed this problem by combining location-specific public enlightenment with access to source protection, storage, and treatment technologies.
The study area consists of rural settlements in the central region of Nigeria. Datasets used include population statistics, source types (surface water, groundwater, tap water, etc.), demand and availability, water stress levels, quality and quantity enhancement technology, and access to water education (radio, local health official, etc.). Results showed that communities that received properly instituted water quality/quantity enhancement technologies with little to no orientation (or vice versa) experienced inconsistent improvements in water sufficiency across the tested populations and some stagnation afterwards. But in communities that benefitted from continuous sustainability orientation as well as a careful interfacing of water quality/quantity enhancement and protection technologies, dramatic improvements in water sufficiency resulted. In addition to socioeconomic and environmental benefits, insights gained from this study have potential applications in planning/policy-making by stakeholders in similar developing regions in central america and Southeast asia.
Africa water scarcity, drinking water stress, sustainable development goals SDGs, water education, water sustainability
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