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River use profile of the Central Niger Delta based on traditional eco-livelihood knowledge (TELK)

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journal contribution
posted on 25.09.2008, 10:52 authored by P.B.L. Tamuno, Guy Howard, Michael Smith
The Central Niger Delta is made up of a network of rivers and creeks that constitute the inland surface waters. These surface waters have historically influenced settlement patterns and are of diverse use to residents of the Central Niger Delta. Surface water like many ecological system are complex, whose complexity has been associated with seasonal variability. Traditional knowledge (TK), traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and the traditional eco-livelihood knowledge (TELK) of residents of four rural communities in the Central Niger Delta have been explored in developing a river use profile of rural communities of the Central Niger Delta. A questionnaire survey has been carried out in four communities, two each from the Otuoke and Kolo Creeks. The result shows that river use varies across seasons and affected by: physico-chemical water quality and characteristics of surface water; the hydrological characteristics; the biological / ecological characteristics; cultural use and demand; need for development projects; and access to this vital resource. Fishing constitute one of the major livelihood source in the Central Niger Delta and the TELK of fishers in the sample communities have specifically been explored to understanding fishing patterns across seasons. The five seasons identified from this study are: flood season; flood recession season; dry season; early rainy season; and rainy season. Therefore, the thesis of this paper is that there is the need to balance the current usage of surface water in the developing world such as the Central Niger Delta with the demand for development as well as future use if development is to meet the criteria for equitable development. The river use profile could be a promising tool in planning for equitable development.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Research Unit

  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)


TAMUNO, P.B.L., HOWARD, G. and SMITH, M.D., 2008. River use profile of the Central Niger Delta based on traditional eco-livelihood knowledge (TELK). Environment, Development and Sustainability, Online First [DOI 10.1007/s10668-008-9158-z]


© Springer Netherlands

Publication date



This is a journal article. It was published in the journal, Environment, Development and Sustainability [© Springer Netherlands]. The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com