Individual water sourcing: understanding risks and resilience to groundwater resource abstraction in Nigeria

Across much of Africa, domestic water supplies are increasingly dependent on groundwater reserves. As the cost of accessing these reserves fall, expertise becomes more widely available and incomes rise there is a rising trend towards the private commissioning of boreholes and wells. This nascent shift towards a distributed and increasingly individualised water supply may have many implications for the resilience of communities to future environmental shocks, which are, as yet, under-explored. Drawing on the case of Nigeria and new interdisciplinary research, this paper addresses this gap, through a specific focus on understanding the behaviour and choices of individuals and other key stakeholders which underpin this trend. It also seeks to understand the possible implications of this for the resilience of associated social and ecological systems.