Assessment and Integration of Socioeconomic and Demographic Factors in the Implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management in the Lake Chad Basin

Nodjidoumde Mbaigoto, University of South Florida


Most developing countries have responded to the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) call to implement Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in their national water policy to reach water sustainability and socioeconomic welfare. Despite the Lake Chad Basin Commission's adoption of the IWRM principles, the basin experiences a massive humanitarian crisis driven by the lake's shrinkage, the water shortage for food production, the rapid population growth, and the terrorist attacks perpetrated by Boko Haram. This study sought to assess the socioeconomic and demographic status of people living upstream of Lake Chad in order to understand the challenges associated with the implementation of the IWRM principles with an overarching goal of formulating policies based on the distribution of socioeconomic and demographic factors.

A mixed methodology based on both qualitative and quantitative approach was employed. Socioeconomic and demographic data from 582 households were collected through a door-to-door survey. The survey was complemented by semi-structured interviews with key informants with a stake in the Lake Chad Basin resources. The key informants were Non-Governmental Organizations, civil society organizations, industrial company, international organizations, water experts, academic institution, and government agency. The interview questionnaires covered the implementation mechanisms by which Lake Chad Basin stakeholders implement the three main pillars of IWRM, namely the Enabling Environment, the Management Instruments, and the Institutional Arrangements. A qualitative method based on content analysis of collected documents and interview data was first employed to investigate how policies and regulations implemented by Lake Chad stakeholders and government agencies at the tributary basin are affecting water sustainability in Lake Chad. Using a quantitative method based on frequency and Chi-Square test, this study proceeded by identifying predominant socioeconomic and demographic factors at the river basin that are likely to promote pro-environmental behaviors (PEBs) towards water resources management in the basin.

The findings of this research suggested that lack of coordinated efforts between the Lake Chad Basin Commission and its stakeholders results in weak policies and regulations to promote public and private participation, education, and water stewardship in the Lake Chad Basin. Also, this study found that 87.8 % of participants with less than a high school degree are less likely to participate in the implementation of the programs aimed at managing water resources in the Lake Chad Basin. Participants with less than high school constitute 36.6 % of the survey population. The participation level is higher (25%) among participants with a high school degree and more. In general, education level plays a significant role in meeting attendance among the study population (X2(8, N = 582) = 24.02, p <.05). Less educated people living in the Lake Chad Basin are not informed about the principles of IWRM. They are less likely to participate in the implementation of the programs aimed at managing water resources in the Lake Chad Basin. Moreover, this study’s findings suggested that pro-environmental behavior is independent of population economic status in the Lake Chad Basin (X2 (2, N = 582) = 1.31, p = .051).

This study concluded by formulating recommendations to better strengthen the three IWRM pillars through reinforcement of regulations, empowerment of local community organizations, investment in water infrastructures, improvement of population livelihood, and effective collaboration between all the stakeholders.