This paper examines various aspects of local knowledge of water and how such knowledge shapes perception and structures engagements with water and water-based development initiatives in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Qualitative methods were utilized to collect data across age groups, ethnic affiliations and targeted individuals and institutions. The results show that local knowledge of water is shaped more by the cultural tradition than by its material properties. Such knowledge is nested in spiritual or metaphysical wisdom and clearly goes against such secular water resources concepts as commoditization, privatization and commercialization. Policy implications are highlighted, with an emphasis on the need for a good mutual relationship between local resource users and the secular authorities during water resources–based project development.
- cultural knowledge
- water development initiatives