Author(s): IBEZIAKO EZEJI Joachim, SMOUT Ian, BOSHER Lee
Institutional reform of state-owned water utilities serving urban areas has often set out to turn them into effective and efficient organisations, so that they can become excellent service providers. However, the pursuit of such objectives, which are often based on commercial targets, woefully ignores efficient catchment management. In view of this, this study reviews the case of the Cross State Water Board (CRSWB) Ltd in Calabar, eastern Nigeria. It identifies the serial neglect of the local watershed as a factor responsible for its operational and maintenance costs. It therefore argues for the need to develop and integrate catchment or ecosystem indicators into overall performance indicators currently used in setting and monitoring performance by the water utility as well as other utilities elsewhere, their owners or regulators. Such socio-ecological considerations as manifest in a catchment, according to the paper, are vital in building appropriate resilience against hazard risks such as flooding, land erosion, land inundation and salt water intrusion which currently plague the CRSWB, hence offering a bold and sustainable road map towards service efficiency and effectiveness for the growing urban population under a variable climate.