Determinants of residential water demand in Ngamiland district, Botswana
PublisherUniversity of Botswana, www.ub.bw
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Freshwater demand for direct human consumption is a significant concern globally. Water is increasingly becoming a scarce resource due to high demands intensified by rapid population growth, urbanisation, economic expansion, and climate change among other factors. Even though mitigating measures in the form of legislations have been implemented to lessen demand and confine it to levels that could be sustained through available supply, evidenceshows that 2.4 billion people worldwide experience water shortages.Therefore, this empirical study is aimed at assessing the determinants of residential water demand in Ngamiland District, Botswana. The specific objectives were to (i) determine the demographic and socio-economic factors contributing to residential water demand; (ii) assess water supply and demand in Maun and Gumare; (iii) analyse the influence of psychological factors on residential water demand and (iv) determine household water use behaviour in relation to residential water demand in Ngamiland District.The supply and demand theory in combination with the social practice theory were employed to analyse the determinants of residential water demand in Ngamiland. The data were collected from a random sample of 497 households in Maun and Gumare villages using an interview schedule and key informant interview guide. While descriptive statistics were used to summarise data,non-parametric (such as Spearman’s correlation analysis, Chi-Square, Mann-Whitney U, Kruskal-Wallis)and parametric (such as Analysis of variance and independent T-test) tests were employed to make inferences.The results revealed that variables such as gender, household income and household size had positive associations with monthly water demand. Household size was found to be the most influential variable at a significant moderate positive correlation with monthly water demand, rs= 0.422 and ρ < 0.05. This result implied that households with a greater number of people were likely to demand more water. xiiiThe study demonstrated that water demand exceeded supply due to population growth, diminishing of both ground and surface water sources, institutional management, and poor management of infrastructures, among otherfactors. Water plant infrastructures were of limited capacity and not performing well to meet the demand of the entire population.There was a significant association between household’s monthly water demand and awareness on water conservation,χ2 (1)= 5.7, ρ = < 0.05. The study also revealed that people are more likely to become committed to water conservation when they are aware of the importance and scarcity of water resources. There was a significant very weak positive correlationbetween household’s monthly water demand and water use activities,rs = 0.068 and ρ = < 0.05. The results also highlighted the importance of both technological and behavioural approaches to demand management. Variables such as small household size, lower educationand income levels, result in less water demand. Households need to adopt practices that conserve water and avoid water-use behaviors such as the utilisationof facilities that are associated with inefficient water use. It is imperative for the Botswana government to work hand in hand with all relevant stakeholders most especially communities in devising pragmatic strategies for enhancing water demand management.
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