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This research concentrated on evaluating the performance of the Cross River Basin Development Authority in project development, specifically highlighting the execution of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) within the Cross River Basin in Nigeria. Established in 1976, the Cross River Basin Development Authority (CRBDA) was given the responsibility of integrated development, leveraging the abundant water resources in the region. However, three decades since its inception, there exists a significant disparity between the initial objectives and the actual provision of services to address the community’s needs. Various research methods, including stakeholder meetings, focus group sessions, questionnaire, and observations during village meetings in selected communities, were employed to assess the implementation of IWRM in comparison to the expectations and requirements of the local population. The findings of the study suggest that the application of IWRM in the Cross River Basin (CRB) has encountered considerable challenges, leading to limited success. In light of these challenges, it is recommended that the IWRM policies within the Cross River Basin be restructured to better align with the unique local circumstances and conditions, fostering a more effective and responsive approach to integrated water resources management.



  • Background of the study

Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is a comprehensive approach that entails the coordinated development, allocation, utilization, and oversight of water resources and associated natural elements. Its primary objective is to fulfill current and future human needs while preserving the essential functioning of ecological systems (Mitchell, 2020). The foundational principles of IWRM rest on equitable resource distribution, efficient and well-balanced resource utilization, stakeholder engagement in decision-making processes, and recognition of the interconnectedness and interactions within human and physical systems. Although the concept of IWRM has roots dating back more than 80 years (Mitchell, 2014), it experienced a resurgence and gained widespread acceptance from numerous international institutions in the 1990s (Biswas, 2014). Predecessors to the contemporary IWRM paradigm can be traced back centuries, with certain countries institutionalizing and refining integrated water management practices over extended periods. For instance, in Valencia, Spain, participatory water tribunals involving multiple stakeholders have been in operation since at least the 10th century (Rahaman & Varis, 2015) as documented by Embid (2013) notes that Spain was probably one of the first countries to organize water management on the basis of river basins, as it adopted the system of confederaciones hidrograficas in 1926 (Rahaman & Varis, 2015). Over the past few decades, there have been several attempts to implement IWRM in different parts of the world. These range from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) experience in the USA (Ransmeier, 2012; Lilienthals, 2014; Clapp, 1955; Kyle, 2018) to practices in England and Wales (Funnel & Hey, 2014; Okun, 2017) as well as similar experiences in France (Lamour, 2011, Harrison & Sewell, 2016) and New Zealand (Howard, 2018).

Despite the current and overwhelming popularity so far enjoyed by IWRM, there has recently been criticism of its popularity. Leading the debate is Biswas (2004). In his assessment of IWRM, he expresses concern that what is promoted as a “new” concept has actually existed for a long time and argues that the concept is not operational or able to be implemented. He rests his argument on the fact that the world is heterogeneous, with different cultures, social norms, physical attributes, skewed availability of renewable and non-renewable resources, investment funds, management capacities and institutional arrangements. He equally noted that the systems of governance, legal frameworks, decision making processes and type and effectiveness of institutions often differs from one country to another in very significant ways. Accordingly and under such diverse conditions, Biswas noted that one fundamental question that needs to be asked is if it is possible for a single paradigm of IWRM to encompass all countries, or even regions, with diverse physical, economic, social, cultural and legal conditions.


The planning problem faced by the Cross River Basin Authority in project development revolves around the need to effectively manage and harness the water resources within its jurisdiction while addressing the complex interplay of ecological, social, and economic factors (Ngara, Esebonu & Ayabam, 2013). The authority must navigate the challenge of balancing the increasing demands for water resources to meet present and future human needs with the imperative to sustain the health and functionality of vital ecological systems. Key issues include the equitable allocation of water resources, ensuring efficient and balanced utilization, and actively involving stakeholders in the decision-making processes. Additionally, the authority must grapple with recognizing and managing the intricate linkages and interactions among human activities and the physical environment within the basin. The historical context of the basin’s development, coupled with the resurgence of interest in integrated water resources management, adds another layer of complexity to the planning problem. Striking a harmonious balance between modern project development requirements and the preservation of traditional, sustainable water management practices, as seen in historical precedents like the multi-stakeholder water tribunals in Valencia, Spain, presents a unique challenge for the Cross River Basin Authority (Bello, Dutse & Othman, 2017). In summary, the planning problem faced by the Cross River Basin Authority involves finding a comprehensive and sustainable approach to water resource management that aligns with the principles of integrated water resources management. This requires addressing issues of equity, efficiency, stakeholder participation, and understanding the intricate connections between human and environmental systems within the basin.


The goal of this study is to examine the cross river basin authority in project development with emphasis on Calabar Cross River state. The objective of the study are;

  1. To examine the role of Cross River basin authority in the execution of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Calabar
  2. To ascertain the relationship between Cross River Basin authority and effective project delivery in Calabar
  • To examine the impact of cross River Basin Authority on effective project delivery and development in Calabar
  1. To proffer suggested solution to the identified problem

The following research questions were formulated by the researcher to aid the completion of the study;

  1. Does Cross River basin authority play any role in the execution of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Calabar?
  2. Is there any significant relationship between Cross River Basin authority and effective project delivery in Calabar?
  • Is there any impact of cross River Basin Authority on effective project delivery and development in Calabar?

Calabar was the name given by the Portuguese discoverers from the 15th century to the tribes on this part of the Guinea coast at the time of their arrival, when the present inhabitants in the district were the Quas. It was not till the early part of the 18th century that the Efik people, owing to civil war with their kindred and the Ibibio, migrated from the neighborhood of the Niger River to the shores of the Calabar.