5.1 Attitudinal Relevance of Regulations
The findings indicate the attitudinal relevance that households placed on the regulation of NUWSS as requiring compliance in aspects such as: quality, personnel, financial transactions, physical assets, and maintenance of their NUWSS. Instituting and detailing regulations to cover the unique parts of the NUWSS can play a crucial role in regulatory compliance. Findings from the households indicate that one of the significant constraints to regulatory compliance was the perception of lack of the regulations covering the different parts of the NUWSS. The attitude arising from perception of lack of regulation and agencies supervising the regulations seem to influence regulatory compliance on aspects such as: treatment, maintenance, re-use, and obtaining of licences among others. The consequence of lack of regulation was indicated by a respondent citing:
Because there is no regulation, anything that comes out is believed to be good and people drink it…I don’t drink the water, I use it for other domestic cores.
The lack of regulation or the perception of it being ambiguous can influence regulatory compliance by households irrespective of self-efficacy or tenure. If the households feel the regulations are not compatible with NUWSS, the non-compliance with regulations then becomes a constraint to the overall aim of the regulatory agencies. When the question on the relevance of regulation on water quality was put to the households using NUWSS, majority of households perceived the regulation of water quality in NUWSS as relevant. This perception could be as a result of existing regulations and guidelines on utility supply or sachet water production which focuses on quality of the water. The positive perception of households was confirmed with comments such as:
Yes, it is good. Quality control is very important. Some of these boreholes they are not properly drilled so it is important to also monitor what we generate from the borehole.
The positive perception of regulation on quality even across tenures on the property seemed to stem from the consensus held by both groups on the health of households as can be seen in their responses. Conversely, the households that perceived regulation on water quality as not relevant hinged such perception on fear of either: excessive taxation, lack of capacity by the government, or just wanted the government agencies to act only on advisory roles with no enforcement or control. The perception of households was confirmed with comments such as:
For now, I don’t think it is necessary because of the situation in the country. Because I know if Government come to regulate, they will impose some taxes on us…I may say the Government may advise if we are not doing the right things. If it is the real borehole that is tested, done by the professionals, maybe they say we should be using filter or whatever. But any other thing, I don’t think there is need for it.
When the relevance of regulation on physical assets like storage tanks, taps, location of water supplied from boreholes was put to the households using NUWSS majority of households indicated they would support such regulation in NUWSS. The positive perception of households was confirmed with comments such as:
Most of the storage tanks are not good, like the ones they use iron sheets which later rust, and is not good for drinking or consumption, but water tanks that can stand the test of time should be the type that should be in use, although it may be costly. But government should really effect some regulations so these types of tanks should be used for the health or having in mind the health of the people that are using the borehole.
Conversely, the households that perceived regulation on physical assets as not relevant hinged such perception on outright rejection of regulation, absence of guidance, intrusion, concern it would not be enforced across income levels, and lack of capacity to enforce it. Such perception of households was confirmed with comments such as:
I think that one is private, it should be left for the owners to carry out because all hands are not equal. If they set up a standard now say assets like tank stand should be 20 meters above the ground, not everybody will be able to carry out such projects…That may not be necessary. The storage tank is domestic property of the one who has it. They should regulate the borehole because of environmental issue. They should leave the domestic part of it.
When the question on the relevance of regulation on maintenance was put to the households using NUWSS, majority of households indicated they would support such regulation in NUWSS. The positive perception of households was confirmed with comments such as:
I think they should be maintained and for the regulations, users have to be sensitised on how to maintain it as it is important…I think there is relevance because many owners of borehole don’t know how to monitor it. Sometimes when it breaks down, they don’t know what to do.
Conversely, the households that perceived regulation on maintenance as not relevant hinged such perception on maintenance being an individual household prerogative, outrightly unnecessary, the extent of challenges is beyond remedy, and excessive dictation from the government. The negative perception of households was confirmed with comments such as:
I will think it is a personal thing, but if there are minimal and all these facilities are available to people, I think those regulations will work for that one. Because if you have your own thing, you want to do what you like… No because I can do that on my own.
When the question on the relevance of regulation on personnel aspects especially training was put to the households using NUWSS, majority of households indicated they would support such regulation in NUWSS. The positive perception of households was confirmed with comments such as:
Training is proper if it will be implemented. You train them, while you monitor them to implement those simple things you train them on.
Conversely, the households that perceived regulation on personnel aspects such as training as not relevant hinged such perception on training to be: the choice of an individual, not a good idea, and not too vital an area to require regulation on it. The perception of households was confirmed with comments such as:
People that own boreholes should be able to take care of it by themselves, it doesn’t really require training…I do not think that it’s too vital on training. Because in my house, if I have a borehole, and I pump my four tanks and they are filled, I put off my borehole. Now the reason is this, you have your borehole and if it gets burnt, you will use your money to fix that…So self-discipline comes in handy, the government cannot go house by house and tell you when and when.
However, when the question on the relevance of regulation on financial aspects especially paying for drilling license and monitoring was put to the households using NUWSS, there was no clear support of households for the regulation of financial aspects in NUWSS. Across classifications such as tenure on the property, there was still no clear distinction of perceptions. For landlords, attitudes on relevance of regulation on financial aspects were expressions of expectations held on the regulation as a tool of control for government to detect the incompetent service providers as well as the genuine ones; expression of need to align licensing for NUWSS with other personal items such as cars; and decried if licensing becomes too much levy or unaffordable. For tenants, those that found it relevant linked licensing as a tool for the government to generate income. The mixed perception of households was confirmed with comments such as:
I think to avoid indiscriminate drilling and for the purpose of ecology that is the effect of drilling on our ecosystem, the Government should. I will welcome the idea that before boreholes are drilled, the site should be inspected and the owners licenced…The monitoring, I feel there should be regulation for that. Even though somebody has drilled it, there should be regulation on monitoring it and seeing it is up to standard.
Conversely, the households that perceived regulation on financial aspects as not relevant hinged such perception on; rejection of such regulation, the perception that drilling should be free, NUWSS is a personal thing and not for the government to be interested. Furthermore, the households believed they are already helping the government sort its inefficiency, and as such should not be tasked on a further financial obligation to the government. The perception of households was confirmed with comments such as:
I think that drilling boreholes should be free. You cannot pay for drilling boreholes because it doesn’t stand as source of income…reason is the government did not provide drilling machine for me free of charge. I had gone to buy that, and I drilled the borehole by myself. When you have the regulations, it comes in when the government has given you all of these things…So if people are providing water, they shouldn’t be taxed, they shouldn’t be bothered after all they are helping the government to ameliorate the inefficiency of governance.
It was noticed that households occupied by tenants are where most found regulation on financial aspects as not relevant, castigating government's inability to provide water, and seeing it as an intrusion.
Evidence of misconceptions which indicates limiting beliefs about what regulatory compliance covers in NUWSS, was identified. The households through their comments showed the level of misconceptions in different aspects of NUWSS. The misconceptions on regulatory compliance based on belief about abundant underground water include:
We don’t because we have water in abundance…we don’t lack the water and it is free. Even when we dispose it, it is still going underground, so it filters it and goes back to the reserve. So, we don’t see need for that…I think it’s basically the general availability of water in the area…We always believe that we have enough water under the bed of the whole community in Nigeria.
Further, the misconception was identified on perceptions about the quality of water from groundwater sources. The households both tenants and landlords believed the soil and rock formations would have filtered the water and eliminated contamination from the water. Thus, regulatory compliance in water treatment seemed neglected as households are just after fetching the water with no consideration to purification. For instance,
It is believed to be pure and drinkable since it is coming from lower the ground… I believe that the water is clean.
Also, the misconception was identified on the reuse of water in NUWSS. Here, aesthetics, hygiene, and outright rejection of reuse because of the constant flow of water drove the beliefs about the reuse of water in NUWSS. Thus, reuse was considered:
No, we don’t. I don’t reuse. Once water is used, I want to believe such water is not good again for re-usage… The water I use for bathing? No... No, it is not necessary because I have constant water running, I cannot use the waste one.
Further misconceptions are held about the use of water meter in NUWSS. Most households, both tenants and landlords indicated that use of meters in NUWSS was not necessary either because of cost and durability or as NUWSS served only an individual household. As such, use of meter was only considered an individual decision and only necessary in a multi-occupier property. As such, comment like:
I don’t think it is necessary for water meter… No, I don’t use water meter. I don’t think it is useful… Since it is my borehole. Unless it is Government borehole where they can come and give us a bill. But this one, we are not billing anybody, it is something we built for ourselves. Therefore, we don’t need any meter.
Misconceptions appeared to be held in other activities of NUWSS such as cleaning of tanks where the misconception was that only human beings physically going into the tanks to clean was the means of cleaning tanks.
5.3 Promoting Compliance
On the practice of promoting compliance, households indicated prerequisites are required before the households can engage in recommendations from promotions. Both tenants and landlords expressed the essence of having as prerequisites; bye-law specifying exactly what regulations of the lot available in the water supply that is specific to NUWSS, the enforcement of the by-law, leadership commitment from the government on compliance, and awareness such as regulatory bodies giving information to households. Information such as those on training, water monitoring and licensing that can improve the quality of water obtained from the NUWSS. Promoting compliance was captured in comments such as:
if the regulatory organisations are going to work, they need to license these installations so they can be able to regulate it properly.
Besides these strategies, landlords also suggested the introduction of initiatives to assist households even before the boreholes are drilled. Initiatives such as requirements for drillers to be licensed before engaging in drilling for water. Moreover, initiatives for subsequent processes such as when to treat the water, as these will give the assurance on the water quality. Also, initiatives such as those applicable to automobiles:
And I think the government should have regulated bodies with strict step by step guide on how to procure, drill, test and also maintain the borehole.
However, promoting regulatory compliance seemed to be influenced by perceptions of water as abundant in the area.
Motivations and constraints gleaned from respondents indicated a willingness by households to comply to regulations provided there is the corresponding action by another stakeholder. The reciprocal motivation was evident in three distinct ways; collaboration on regulatory compliance, initiating support from government, and role of other stakeholders. The constraints reported included additional cost for compliance, institutional constraints such as absence of regulation and limited capacity, as well as resistant to change.
5.4 Findings on Water Governance in Uyo, Nigeria
The findings reported in this section were reported under policies and institutions. In terms of guiding policy for water supply, the Akwa Ibom State Government at the moment does not have any policy on water supply at the moment. Regulations governing water supply in Nigeria, as well as in Uyo, is fragmented under different agencies. As with the Federal Government, the Government of Akwa Ibom State sought to amend the State Water Resources Policy, with a bill sent to the National and state legislatures for passage into law. However, unlike other bills initiated at the beginning of the administration, the bills on water sector were not passed into law at the end of the legislative period 2015-2019 by both the National and State Assemblies. Currently, some policies and periodic guidelines developed by Ministries, Departments and Agencies are in use in the water sector. Examples of the policies and guidelines include the Nigerian Standards for Drinking Water Quality (NSDWQ) (SON2007), National Water Supply and Sanitation Policy 2000 (FMWR 2019), National Framework for Monitoring and Evaluation for Water Supply and sanitation, and Regulatory Handbook for Water Supply Services. The Water Supply Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) policy has remained in draft since 2016.
In terms of institutions, several Ministries, Departments and Agencies seems to be involved in the water sector in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, though at various degrees. However, there is no stability in responsible agency for water supply. Over the course of this research, responsibility for supervision of water sector has been moved over different Ministries. First, responsibility was delegated to Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development. Next, responsibility for supervision was moved to Ministry of Special Duties, then Bureau of Political, Legislative Affairs and Water Resources, and recently to Ministry of Lands and Water Resources.
Based on these descriptions by the households, insights on regulating NUWSS can be gained. The findings highlighted the extent to which regulation is understood by households. It appears households would welcome NUWSS to be regulated as the findings reported pointed to attitudes mediating on certain factors that could influence regulation and regulatory compliance in NUWSS.