Neighbourhood effects and household responses to water supply problems in Nigerian cities
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Between 1990 and 2004, Nigeria’s urban population jumped to nearly half the national population, while access to improved sources of water in urban areas dropped by nearly 15 per cent during the same period. This paper presents preliminary results on the relationship between water supply, neighbourhood characteristics, and household strategies in response to dissatisfaction with water provision as reported by 389 respondents in 10 neighbourhoods in Lagos and Benin City, Nigeria between October 2007 and February 2008. In this paper, a conceptual model of consumer demand for water is used, based upon Hirschman’s exit, voice and loyalty (EVL) framework. The model explicitly factors in the quality of water provision and variables at the household and neighbourhood levels that could affect perceptions about quality and the strategies that households use to cope with inadequate public services. Preliminary results show that reported household strategies to secure water are affected by community-level factors such as the range, cost, and quality of water supply alternatives, as well as neighbourhood composition. Furthermore, the percentage of urban migrants and households that live in rented flats in a neighbourhood seems to be associated with the use of exit strategies (as opposed to voice) in response to problems with their primary water supply.