Essay Sample on Water Management Challenges in Rural areas

Published: 2023-02-15
Essay Sample on Water Management Challenges in Rural areas
Type of paper:  Article review
Categories:  Management Ecology World Water
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1681 words
15 min read

Water management challenges in rural areas are manifested in diverse ways. In Central Kazakhstan, water supply challenges are prevalent in rural areas. Omarova et al. (2019) noted that although villagers were supplied with tap water, the majority of them utilized alternative sources. The use of alternative sources was attributed to villagers' doubts about the quality of tap water, the availability of free or cheaper sources, and use of alternative sources out of habit (Omarova et al. 2019). In Uganda, water management challenges faced by rural residents include unreliable supply, contamination and water scarcity, ineffective supervision and monitoring of water sources, high user fees, the unpredictability of water supply over time, and the scattered location of water sources (Naiga et al. 2015). Consequently, to mitigate these challenges, it is crucial to train community water management committees on effective ways of supervision of water resources. Additionally, it is recommended that the Ugandan government should put in place mechanisms aimed at lowering water fees, e.g., subsidizing costs of running the water infrastructure. Rural Uganda has also been established to face the following water-related challenges: contamination of run-off water, scarcity of water thus children walk for long distances searching for water, lack of local finance, lack of capacity of the local operators to provide water services, and poor water contracts (International Finance Corporation World Bank Group 2019). To solve these challenges, it is recommended that the local community, in collaboration with local government bodies, should seek funding from the central government and non-governmental organizations to establish robust water infrastructural system.

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UNESCO (2015) has further reported that in developing countries, especially rural Asia and Africa, the common water challenges include limited water resources which give rise to problems of infrastructure provision and scattered settlements primarily characterized by the agriculture-based economy. The problem of scattered settlements can be solved by convincing the local community to change their ways of living, e.g., to shift from scattered to compact settlement systems. When people live in compact systems, water infrastructural costs are reduced because many people can be supplied with water at once, unlike in scattered settlements. In Kenya, the water challenges in rural areas include inadequate access to safe water sources, regional disparities in access to safe water, and low access to sanitation (Odira n.d.). It has also been reported that there is a pronounced shortage of water in the rural areas, which have resulted in resource-based conflicts, especially in n Kenya's poorest arid and semi-arid regions (KCIC n.d.). Semi-arid regions of Kenya, such as Samburu County, have also experience the water shortage challenges, lack of community participation in water management, poor management of the pans, salinity of the underground water, high poverty levels hence residents cannot afford water, and political influence and socio-cultural considerations in water provision (Mdoe 2011). In rural Asia, the critical water management challenges include land degradation and drought, water scarcity, desertification, and degradation of water quality (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 2014). These challenges could be solved by seeking funding from non-governmental organizations as well as through changes in national policies aimed at shifting the focus of water supply to the rural areas as opposed to the urban areas as the case in many developing countries across the world. Other recommendations include improving the capacity of implementers to realize the success of the programs.

Additionally, Kome (2019) reported that the rural households are faced with non-functioning water infrastructure systems, inexistent supply chains, migration and water resource competition, climate change, low construction quality, and sector fragmentation. European rural areas have also been found to have profound water management challenges. For instance, pan-European region experience challenges related to adequate resource protection, lack of access to modern technical knowledge by local administrations and operators, affordability or high cost of water, and the collapse of water infrastructure (WHO Europe n.d.). On the other hand, India rural population face water challenges related to persistent drought, contaminated water sources, reduced levels of surface water bodies during dry seasons, and salinity of water during dry seasons (Udmale et al. 2016). In Ghana, the rural population has indicated that the primary water challenge that they currently experience include lack of enough dams, drying up of dams during droughts, and failure of the government to translate water policy documents into concrete actions at the local level (UN Development Programme 2019). Policy changes aimed at ensuring that the rural population gets adequate funding for water infrastructure could help address these challenges.

In Africa, the rural parts of Nigeria have been reported to have many water management challenges. Some of these problems include scattered settlements which make it challenging to supply piped water, frequent breakdown off hand-operated boreholes and wells (especially during dry seasons), and ever-increasing population which leads to increased water demand (Ishaku et al. 2011). Water management challenges in rural Nigeria has also been reported to experience have also been attributed to governance challenges, especially poor government policies and priorities, e.g., lack of community involvement in the drafting of such policies and failure of the government to utilize technology in water management (A. Edet 2012). Even though Nigeria has many water sources, it has been noted that the rural poor do not access clean and safe water because of regulation challenges, especially weak regulatory, legal and institutional frameworks which have resulted in pollution of its water sources (Slaughter & Odume 2017). Rural Nigeria has also been reported to have a regular breakdown of water infrastructure and poor coordination between the local, state, and federal government agencies in water management (Slaughter & Odume 2017). Breakdown of water infrastructure in the rural areas and its subsequent adverse impact n supply of water to the rural residents have also been reported in other studies.

Some of the most common water supply infrastructural challenges in rural Nigeria include damage of sewage disposal and water supply infrastructures leading to contamination of water supply and waterborne diseases, breakdown of machines and equipment, and lack of operational inputs required to ensure the smooth operation of water infrastructure (Hassan & Musa 2016). The rural parts Nigeria has also been reported to have high water demand, which surpasses the supply, few functional public boreholes, frequent technical fault in water infrastructure, water pollution, and lack the necessary engineering skills and knowledge required in the handling of even minor repairs by the community users (Chukwuma 2017).

Other factors that have been found to negatively affect access to clean and safe water in rural areas include low investment in water infrastructure and weak water policy, and lack of adequate funding of water infrastructure, especially in the rural parts of the US-Mexican border (Duran-Encalada et al. 2017). Even when there is an adequate supply of water to the rural areas, most of the residents cannot access it because of poverty or low income and dispersed settlement (Angoua et al. 2018). It has also been emphasized that most of the African countries face water management challenges related to the high cost of drilling boreholes, technical challenges in locating water sources that can meet the high demand, and contamination of groundwater by heavy metals (Lewis 2019). Lack of coordination among the various authorities tasked with water management primarily attributed to lack of clear definition of roles and responsibilities and failure to harmonize laws and policies related to environmental management is a crucial challenge in water provision in Africa (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs 2016). In other instances, inadequate staffing in government departments, insufficient financing, and frequent floods and droughts, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs 2016).

Naiga et al. (2015) have also noted that in Uganda, the primary water management challenges that are faced include high transaction costs, lack of appropriate water provision technologies, challenges related to creating new infrastructure and maintaining it, and operation and maintenance challenges. In Kenya, the provision of water to the rural communities have been adversely affected by population growth, the general shortage of available water, anthropogenic climate change (Navarra Center for International Development 2016). There are also challenges related to lack of technical assistance in operation of water infrastructure, technical and financial challenges, social challenges in water development (especially low social acceptance of interventions and conflicts), and low stakeholder involvement in Kenya (Kamiya & Chepyegon 2018). The rural population have also witnessed water sanitation problems (especially open defecation), high poverty levels, and increasing population, which has put pressure on water resources (Ndungu 2018). It has further been reported that in the Kenyan rural areas, there are problems related to lack of management capacity attributed to internal challenges of community groups, poor communication and accountability between community groups and water users, absence of legal status among the community-managed water groups, low literacy levels and inadequate technical skills needed to efficiently run the water resources, inadequate capacity building and follow-up by non-governmental organizations, and inadequate knowledge of regulatory framework by the communities themselves (Leclert et al. 2016).

Rural India has also been reported to face many water challenges (The World Bank, 2019). Some of the common challenges are lack of proper sanitation, quality and quantity problems, lack of proper monitoring and evaluation systems, declining groundwater and quality problems, inadequate sustainable local government management models, and failure to decentralize management of water resources (The World Bank 2011). India has also faced challenges related to climate change and shifting rainfall patterns, lack of a comprehensive national water framework law, excessive groundwater exploitation, increasing pressure of water-dependent industrialization, and improper pricing of water, and lack of proper coordination between federal and state governments (Prabhu 2012). Rural India further experience pollution of water sources, lack of wastewater treatment facilities, insufficient infrastructure, and a rapid increase in rural population, thus placing pressure on the supply of water (Ali & Dkhar 2018). Moreover, the Indian rural population do not have access to modern water infrastructure and frequently use traditional technologies (such as tanker truck water, vendor-provided water, surface water, unprotected spring, and unprotected dug well) to provide water to its population (U.S Prasad (WaterAid India & De 2016). Furthermore, rural India faces wide variation in rainfall patterns across various regions of the country, the ever-increasing demand for water despite its rapidly growing population, economic activities which have placed stress on water resources.

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