In Sub-Saharan Africa, domestic water use accounts for only 9% of consumptive water demands (WRI, 1994), but limited water availability to satisfy this need is a major concern in rural areas of the semi-arid zones even though such areas support large human population. This study examined this paradox by assessing the socio-economic, political and biophysical factors in vulnerability to water scarcity among rural households in Katsina State. The data used in the study were mostly primary data on household characteristics, household water demand and water availability which were collected through field survey. Field data collection procedure involved multi-stage sampling procedure guided by the three differentiated rainfall Zones of Katsina State while secondary data was collected purposefully. A total of 400 households were sampled from each of the three rainfall zones of the state totaling 1200 households plus 12 focus group discussions and 12 key informants. The results of data analysis established that across the three rainfall zones of the rural areas of Katsina State. Water availability per capita in the state was 26 litres per day as compared to the UNDP, (2006) recommendation for Nigeria of 38 litres per day indicating general water scarcity condition. There was significant difference in per capita water availability and this difference was due to rainfall variability thus reflecting the general geography of water availability in Africa with a tendency to have water scarcity increase with the distance away from the equator especially to the north. The indicators of vulnerability to water scarcity in the study area included low levels in formal education, inappropriate training in managing water scarcity, high poverty levels, over reliance on nature for water supply, sharing of water sources with livestock and wild life, long distances to water sources and minimal government involvement in water supply.
Water, Scarcity, Vulnerability, Households, Katsina State, Nigeria