Sustainable development Central Niger Delta Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) Water resources management
TAMUNO, P.B.L. and SMITH, M.D., 2008. The place of traditional ecological knowledge in water resources management in the Central Niger Delta. International Conference on Meeting environmental challenges in the coastal region of Nigeria, 29th-30th September 2008, University of Abertay Dundee, United Kingdom
Long term scientific data and comprehensive information (base-line data) of water resources in most developing countries such as Nigeria are lacking, inadequate or completely non-existent. The dearth of baseline data has constituted one of the major constraints to meeting the demands for sustainable water resources management. However, residents of most rural communities of the developing world have extensive knowledge about their environment. Such knowledge acquired from experience and residency is termed traditional ecological knowledge (TEK). A questionnaire survey was carried out in two rural communities in the Central Niger Delta whose river sections have been dredged. A total of 108 and 103 respondents from Otuogidi and Otuoke respectively participated in the survey that was designed to testing the reliability of TEK in the Central Delta. The results show that there is rich TEK in these communities, which is inversely proportional to time post dredging but directly proportional to the level of participation of residents of the sample communities in the respective projects. The thesis of this paper is that the incorporation of TEK in rural communities of developing countries with “hard scientific” knowledge is one viable option to accessing environmental information that can be used in planning for sustainable development.