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As urban areas in Nigeria continue to grow, the need to meet increasing water demand for the
population has become a major problem of concern to Urban Managers. The State water
agencies who are supposed to provide adequate and potable water supply to urban population
have records of poor performance and institutional challenges. To achieve the national and
state water supply policy objectives major institutional reforms must be carried out in our
water sectors to provide efficient and sustainable water supply for the urban needs.
In view of this, the study first appraisal the existing public water supply system and conditions
in Lafia town with population of 263,998. The survey investigation was based on a three-stage
clustered sampling framework in which a sample of 500 households (representing 2.5%
sample size of the 20,308 total households in Lafia) was drawn across the three Water Board
area offices (Lafia East, Lafia North and Lafia West) forming about 12 neighbourhoods of the
urban areas and a systematic random sampling was used to administer questionnaires.
Another sample of 20 questionnaires was administered to source out information among the
stakeholders on their opinion about PSP.
These results obtained shows that the water coverage in Lafia urban area was only 33% and
67% of the urban area were not covered by the network. From the 33% of the urban area that
was covered with public water supply network out of which 57.3% of the households have
their houses connected while 42.7% were not connected to official networks but depend on
public taps and other sources. The result also shows that only about 30% of the Lafia urban
population have access to potable water supply and others rely on alternative sources of water
supply that may be polluted. In addition, the result of enabling environment shows that legal
policies, regulatory framework, willingness and ability to pay for water supply, stakeholders
and consumers assessment support a conducive environment for private sector participation
in public water supply systems in Lafia town, and a lease contract was selected as the best
option for water supply in Lafia town.
The study proposed 10 years partnership arrangement based on the selected PSP model and
recommend strong political will and commitment from government to promote water supply
system, establishment of management regulatory commission for PPP. In view of the fact that
there will be increase in tariff due to the new reform which some households may be unable to
pay for water supply, measures targeting the poor such as low-cost options of obtaining water
supply through the public stand posts and commercial distribution outlets was recommended.
Finally, the research has provided useful insights as to the way forward for water supply
partnership and commercialization in Nigeria, and that there is no one-model-suits-all
approach to water privatization. Each country must therefore design a framework most
suitable to its environment.




Water in adequate quantity and suitable quality is a pre-requisite for maintaining urban life
and economic activity, and it serves as the vehicle for drainage of wastes. Numerous activities
are dependent on the availability of water supply. In particular, water supply is a critical
factor in public health and economic development.
For any city, one of the basic and essential services is efficient water supply. Unless and until
this demand is met, the health of the community and development activities will be negatively
affected. When the organizational structure of any water supply agency does not promote
efficient operation then the overall management will function poorly. Management in this
regards is the act of giving directions to water activities and channelling resources towards
the achievement of better and efficient water supply system. Water supply management
comprises of financial management and water demand management such as water pricing
system, metering and tariff, financial and cost recovery of water supply, willingness to pay
and ability to pay for the services and how various institutions will participate in management
of water supply.
In developing countries, however, provision and management of water supply and sanitation
systems is generally poor, resulting in interruptions in the services and sometimes the
complete collapse of systems, which could oblige users to resort to traditional water sources
that may be contaminated. According to the WHO/UNICEF joint monitoring programme,
between 1990 and 2004 urban population growth in Nigeria increased from 25 to 48% while
at the same time, urban access to improved water sources actually declined during the same
period from 80% to 67% coverage. The World Bank also reports that “some 25% of the urban population in Nigeria at least (50% of the urban population of Africa) are not connected to
official networks and rely on alternative sources of water supply.
Urban water supply in Nigeria is deficient mainly due to inadequate data on operation and
maintenance, insufficient and inefficient use of funds, lack of coordination among water
agencies, poor management of water supply facilities, inappropriate system design, low
profile of operation and maintenance, inadequate water policy, legal framework and
overlapping responsibilities, and political interference (O and M working Group, 2002).
The provision of adequate water for rural and urban population is the priority of national and
state water supply policy and one of the targets of MDGs is to have access to quality water by
the year 2015. But this policies will be a mere statement if the management of State water
agencies have not been restructure based on current trend of PSP reforms. The concerned to
make these Water agencies work efficiently, the Federal Ministry of Water Resources had to
source for loan from World Bank on behalf of the SWAs to rehabilitate water works under
the National Water Rehabilitation Project (NWRP) rather than allowing the State Water
Agencies to embark on construction of new ones which are very expensive. NWRP was
aimed at developing the SWAs’ institutionally so that they can become efficient, autonomous
and viable. The concerned also led to establishment of many policies by the FMWRRD on
how to improve water supply, one of which is the National Policy on Water supply and
Sanitation, 2000.
To have adequate water supply, there must be sustainability of water supply management
which will involve: ensuring the continuous availability of sufficient quantities of water of
sufficient quality, within adequate institutional frameworks; and applying sound management
practices, appropriate technologies, and full-cost accounting; and effectively maintaining facilities and equipment. An efficient water management framework is necessary for
sustainable urban water supply system.
Since the creation of Nasarawa State in 1996, the management of public water supply in
Lafia, the capital city, has been the responsibility of the Nasarawa State Water Board
(NSWB). The NSWB has water supply system for Lafia town with a capacity of
11356.24m3/d (about 3 million gallons a day) which falls short of the current demand level of
about 75,640.8m3/d. In addition, the existing system looses approximately 50 percent of its
water, including “technical losses” (i.e. leakages) and “commercial losses” (i.e. unbilled and
uncollected revenues and theft). The system itself has unreliable data on household water use
and losses by households and other entities, and it has insufficient metering. Thus, bills are
based on presumed consumption. These situations are not different from other State Water
agencies in Nigeria (Greater Lafia master plan, 1998; Sauri Consultants, 2000 and ADB
project appraisal, 2005).
As in most other countries, the State Water Corporations in Nigeria, with a mandate based on
objectives of providing water as a social service while generating revenue to offset costs and
run a sustainable water supply have records of poor performance. Balancing this dual
mandate under an institutional and management framework in the public sector has been
frequently a source of major problems that have characterized State Water Corporations and
made them incapable of achieving any of those objectives effectively (Blunt, 1990; Blunt and
Merrit, 1992). Problems like absence of clear institutional objectives, low wages and poor
equipment and supplies, have been widely cited as the typical institutional characteristics of
such water supply institutions in Nigeria (Ayoade, 1981; Falana, 1991, Yakubu, 1995) and other countries. The effect of these problems is to entrench a vicious circle that constrains the
generation and effective use of finance to improve performance, ineffective delivery systems
and poor financial portfolio.
Many studies have revealed that the problem of water supply is attributed to poor
management and operational control of water agencies to recover cost through user charges
(Fadumila, 1983; Isa, 1992; Ammani, 1995; Abdu, 1998). The usual approach towards
performance improvement has been to design projects for urban water supply that feature a
package application of more finance, often from foreign development assistance agencies for
upgrading of existing plants and development of new ones. These have not yielded the
desired results as water institutions remain incapable of improving performance. The water
agencies therefore continue to rely on government subventions for much of their operations.
Financial assistance of this type without major institutional reforms has been shown to create
a contradictory situation of persistent water shortages despite increasing expenditure to
reduce them (Swyngedouw, 1995).
These studies focussed on drastic management and policy changes to realising sustainability
through full cost recovery in service provision by way of commercialization or outright
privatization of water supply in view of government inadequacies to fund water corporations.
This was in line with the recent National policy on water supply and sanitation that clearly
identifies commercialization and private sector participation as the cornerstones for achieving
sustainability in water supply and advocates a shift from public management system to
public-private partnership or private sector management. The policy was premised on the
apparent failure of the existing water supply and sanitation situation and the need for a review
of existing processes and structures for more effective performance. One of the policy’s aims
were “to provide sufficient potable water and adequate sanitation to all Nigerians in an affordable and sustainable way through participatory investment by the three tiers of
Government, the private sector and the beneficiaries”.
The above researches led to other studies on the feasibility of commercializing and
privatizing water supply in Nigeria (Dale and etal, 1989; Sani, 2006). The studies revealed
households are willing to pay higher than the present tariff if services were improved which
they concluded that commercialization of urban water supply is a feasible and necessary
strategy for sustainable urban water supply and also suggested measures for households that
will be unable to pay for water supply.
Another research by (Owolabi, 2004, Adepoju and Omonona, 2009) studied the ability to pay
as basis for privatization of water supply institutions. The study revealed that apart from
willingness to pay higher tariff, households have the ability to pay for higher tariff if
increased because they spend higher in buying water from other alternative sources than if
public water is commercialized to improve its supply.
These studies rightly suggested that commercialization and private sector participation
through partnerships is a necessary strategy for effective and sustainable urban water supply
provision. The studies have not however, addressed the kind of partnership arrangement
required in the new arrangement of water supply provision. This is necessary in view of the
inadequate service provision levels in some partnerships in Nigeria. The arrangement in this
study is a partnership framework for good governance based on Lafia condition which is
necessary for the functionality, efficiency, responsiveness and accountability in water supply
and this can be the basis for other facilities and services provisioning in Nigeria. That is, this
needs to be spelt out on city by city basis considering the variations in the state and dynamics
of each city. A public-private partnership is one of the important strategies of promoting good
governance on water supply management and any of the infrastructural services in Nigeria.
Therefore, in view of the above argument, the study sets out to investigate; first, the
conditions and mode of access to water in the study area, second, assess the enabling
environment for a partnership model and thirdly to also assess the kind of PSP option that is
require in Lafia town. This research shall aim at working out effective partnership
arrangement for good governance in water supply provision based on Lafia condition.
The study therefore sets out to answer the following questions:
1. What is the state of public water supply system in Lafia town?
2. What are the conditions of water supply and mode of access to public water supply system
in Lafia town?
3. What are the enabling environments for partnership in the study area?
4. What kind of partnership model is requires for Lafia environment?
1.21 AIM:
The aim of this research is to appraise the existing management of public water supply system
in Lafia town, and to assess the enabling environment and partnership models with a view of
evolving the best partnership arrangement and making recommendations for effective public
water supply.
The objectives of this research are to:
1. Examine the concepts as well as partnership models for water supply.
2. Appraise the existing management of public water supply systems in order to ascertain its
3. Investigate the existing conditions and mode of access to public water supply in the study
4. Assess the enabling environment and partnership models for selecting the best option for
Lafia town and,
5. Evolve a partnership arrangement based on selected option and to make recommendations
for effective public water supply system in Lafia town.
The study shall cover public water supply in Lafia urban area. The Water Board has 13 water
systems across the State but this study shall focus only on Lafia urban water supply system.
The water supply in question does not therefore include other sources of supply like private or
community and private owned wells and boreholes that are commonly in use to supplement
the public water system but these might only provide brief background information to water
supply conditions in Lafia town. The research has been limited to appraisal of the
management of public water supply system in Lafia town and also has worked out efficient
partnership arrangement for PSP. It will therefore, not covers other aspects of water supply
such as water demand management, water treatment, technical and engineering aspects,
spatial distributions and consumption of water by various densities and land use, and
estimation of water demand.
The investigation of these research issues is very expedient in view of the following:
Firstly, adequate understanding about the problems of the management of public water supply
system is necessary which will be secured as a basis for policy engenders efficient water
supply in Lafia. Also, the current debates of PSP on water supply management will provide
the information needed for partnership in any water supply management and the choice of
partnership model shall be better guided thereby ensuring satisfactory outcomes.
Secondly, the research will suggest the partnership arrangement for public water supply
management that will increase private sectors’ involvement, greater transparency and
acceptability to the process. Also, findings of the study will contribute much needed
information on the effective service provisioning in Lafia and other Nigerian cities.
This study utilizes four key terms: public-private partnership, partnership, private sector
participation, privatization and service delivery.
1.51 Public-private partnership: PPPs specifically refers to those forms of partnership in
which government establishes an arrangement with the private sector in which the private
sector provides some form of investment. As such, the terminology PPP tends to exclude
service and management contract arrangements, but includes leases and concessions.
Heilman and Johnston (1992:197) provide another definition closed to the one given above.
Both authors consider that PPPs are a kind of combination between public need and private
capability and resources to create a market opportunity through which the public need is met
and a profit is made.
1.52 Partnership: describes a spectrum of possible relationships between public and private
sectors for the cooperative provision of social services, including infrastructure. In this case
parties involved have mutually shared objectives and working arrangements that go beyond
the fulfilment of any contractual agreement.
According to Nelson and Zadek (2000), the notion of partnership implies people and
organizations from some combination of public, business and civil constituencies who engage
in voluntary, mutually beneficial innovative relationships to address common social aims
through combining their resources and competencies. As such, partnership could mean
government working together with a wide range of social partners at the national and local
level to plan, implement and evaluate policy and actions for socio-economic development.
1.53 Private sector participation: ‘PSP’ refers to the involvement of the sector in some
form, at some stage in the delivery of services. It is a general term that is used in literature to
cover a wide range of arrangements between government agency and non public institution,
but usually refers to a contractual agreement involving a public agency and formal private
company. However, small-scale and/or informal operators are increasing being recognised
and described as private enterprises, as are civil society organizations where they engage in
provision of water services on a small-scale to low-income communities (Jessica and Gordon,
2003). It also refers to formal private enterprises operating for or with water utilities.
1.54 Privatization: is sometimes used to refer to increasing private sector involvement, but
also specifically to the model of divestiture. For the purpose of this study, “privatization”
refers to processes that increase the participation of formal private enterprises in water
provision but not necessarily involve the transfer of assets to formal operator.
1.55 Service delivery or service provision. The terminology ‘service delivery’ has
generally replaced ‘service provision’ removing the implication that there in a provider and a recipients. This distinction is not always adhered to and so will not be overly stressed in this
The main issue of discussion in this research consist of generating argument for the appraisal
of the existing management framework and potential resources for evolving a partnership
framework based on good governance as basis for achieving sustainable water supply in Lafia
Town and other part of the country.
The study wills involve field surveys of households, the general population, in addition to
secondary data from the State Water Board, the public water supply agency in Lafia. The
field surveys of households as user of the services with respect to access to the public water
supply system.
The research framework was divided based on seven chapters namely:
 Research conception
 Literature review
 Methodology of research
 Appraisal of existing management of public water supply system
 Analysis of existing water condition and mode of access to public water supply
 Assessment of enabling environment for PSP reform options and PSP models
 Proposals for partnership arrangement and recommendations for efficient
implementation of PPP.
Nasarawa State was created in 1996 with Lafia as the capital town. Within the former
structure of Plateau State, Lafia was the second largest town in population size. For the
reasons of its size and status as State capital, as well as the location near the Federal Capital
Territory (FCT), Lafia is now the First Order town in Nasarawa State.
Nasarawa State is bordered by Kaduna, Kogi, Benue, Taraba and Plateau States as well as the
Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja. The State consists of Thirteen (13) Local
Governments (see Fig.1.1) and has an estimated land area of 27,107.8 sq. Km with Longitude
8° 08′ 38″ East and Latitude 8° 24′ 17″ North. Lafia town is the Headquarter of Lafia Local
Government which is the fourth largest with a land area of 2,797.5 sq. Km. Nassarawa Local
Government (5.743.8 sq. Km), Karu (2810.4 sq. Km) and Awe (2,800.0 sq. Km) are the first
second and third largest LGs in that order.
As shown in Fig.1.2, Lafia town is situated on Longitudes 08º 30¹ East and Latitude 08 º 31¹
north. The area is located in the middle climatic belt that is generally very warm and humid
with dry and rainy seasons. It has a mean temperature range of 26 º C to 30 º C, a mean
rainfall of 1120mm to 1500mm relative humidity of 60-80% and falls within the guinea
savannah kind of vegetation; (Meteorological dept, 2009). The Lafia region is the State’s
close settled cell with intensive land use in a corridor of development. That is, Makurdi Road
passes through Lafia area where the corridor of urban development is most intense by the
standard of the Northern and middle belts of Nigeria; (Greater Lafia master plan 1998).
Lafia town and its surrounding settlements are within the Mada River Basin of the Benue
valley platform. The area is largely an undulating plain which is drained by River Mada and
its tributaries and by some tributaries of Guma and Ankwe Rivers emptying into the Benue
Lafia town consists of three (3) structural units distinguished in terms of age of building as
well as density of physical development and population. These sectors (see fig. 1.3) are the
old town, Sabon pegi area, and Millionaires/Bukan sidi/ Tudun Gwandara Area.
The eastern bank of River Amba and railway enclose the old town which was walled. It is
southwest of the railway and on the North edge of the river Amba. The central elements of
the sector are the Emir’s palace and central mosque as the initial koro settlement which has
indeed been swallowed up and did not have such monumental structures.
Additionally, the old town is characterized by narrow streets which are winding and irregular
in width. This is in line with the non-motorized transport technology of the time of
establishment of the settlement and the indigenous cultural values of the dominant inhabitants
(Kambari, Hausa-fulani and other Muslim communities). The boundary streets have however
been tarred. The old town is a high density residential area with the building largely
constructed of mud walls with sand-cement plastering and zinc roofing. The net population
density is highest in this part of Lafia, estimated at a value of between 200-250 persons per
hectare. The density gradient then sharply declines to the outskirts on to the other sectors of
the town.
The second sector is the Sabon pegi area covering the Tudun Kawari, low cost housing,
government house area, NADP quarters and Sabon pegi extension which is at the Northeast
of the railway and demarcated by railway and the old town wall. The sector emerged during
the latter part of 1950s up to early 1960s. It is associated with land demand unmet within the
old town, establishment of the railway and growth in the population of Lafia town. Modern
buildings, mostly rooming type are constructed of cement blocks with zinc roofs, dominate
this area of medium development and population densities. The net population density in the
sector is about 180 persons per hectare. The area is distinct in having rectangular grid
network of streets arising from the layout designs by local government and zonal technical
staff. A tarred main street (Abuja street) linking Makurdi and Shendam roads forms major
loop truncating the area.
The third sector is the Bukan sidi/Millionaire quarters/GRA/Tudun Gwandara which
constitutes the newest areas in the north and northwest of the town as well as the outlying
government housing areas. This sector houses most of the major government institutions with
their staff. These are built of modern materials and design, and in spacious setting. Most
streets in the sector are however, not tarred except the part of Kwandare road in the Alhamis
area up to the State security service office opposite the solar water pump station.
The sector encloses old settlement like Bukan sidi, Ombi I and II. The sector therefore, has a
generally new outlook. The net population density in the sector is about 150 persons per

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