River use, conservation and management among riverine communities in Southeastern Nigeria
Water holds important and diverse benefits for society. It is essential for economic and social development and is important for maintaining the livelihoods of people both in rural and urban areas. The connection between people and water dates back to the earliest origins of life and show the cultural values and social differences that are present in societies. With growing water scarcity, competition for the resource, climate change impacts and pollution, integrated water resource management has been increasingly enlisted as a way to better manage the resource. However the problem remains that many water resource planning and management regimes do not capture the views of the myriad of stakeholders and the many benefits of ecological services. This paper examines river use, conservation and management among riverine communities in South Eastern Nigeria using descriptive statistics on primary data collected from a survey of rural households along two rivers in southeastern Nigeria., Although more than 60% of the respondents in the Local Government areas sampled indicated uses of water for various domestic ends and that other uses like recreation, industry and ecosystem services were indicated and that they are able to attach economic values to these roles, the communities lack the capacity for resource management and conservation. It proposes a strong need for public enlightenment and empowerment for effective water resource management.
Keywords: Water use, Conservation, Livelihoods, Participation, Common property