The study investigated the role of community (traditional) and government-bases institutions in watershed management in Anambra State of Nigeria. Data were collected from 92 respondents who were selected and interviewed using both interview schedule and questionnaires. The data collected were presented using percentages and means. The results indicated that for the community based institutions, it is the adult males that manage the watersheds and this role has not changed, whereas the government-based institutions manage and regenerate the watersheds. The result also indicated that the effective management activities in Anambra State watersheds embraced defecation, prohibition of excess wood logging and dumping of refuse with mean of score and above. The result also showed that for the both institutions, gaps were noticed in watershed management in the state. It equally revealed that between the community-based and government-based institutions, there is little or no links and respectively) and that inter-ministerial linkages and interdisciplinary linkages with communities for quarterly meeting is the needed link between those institutions. It further revealed that enacting laws was considered the most needed role in watershed management; while Anambra state Agricultural Development Project was identified as the needed new institution for watershed management. This suggest the need for extension organization to organize training for its staff in the aspect of watershed and teach them verified techniques that involves best Agricultural Management practices which should be taught to farmers who farm within the watersheds and to coordinate the role among all the institution agencies and ministries that are stakeholders in watershed management.

1.1      Background of the study
Water covers about 71% of the earth’s surface, and is always present to some extent in the atmosphere. Over two thirds of earth’s surface is covered with water (United Nations, 2001). Water supplies many good services essential to human health and well being among which are water for drinking, agricultural and industrial production, water for transportation, recreation, hydroelectric power generation, and natural habitat for aquatic plants and animals. The role and importance of water to man is indispensable. As a matter of fact, life and death of every living thing depend on water.

Water can make or mar our life depending on how it occurs and how it is managed (UN-Water/Africa, 2004). When it is too little or insufficient, it will kill us faster than starvation. Both plants and animals depend on water and lack of it can both dehydration and starvation. Nevertheless, irrespective of the mode of occurrence, it can be an instrument for poverty alleviation and economic recovery, if properly managed. Otherwise, it results in poor health and low productivity, of both plants and animals, which will in turn lead to food insecurity and constrained economic development (Obiora, 2006). Thus what we get out of water depends greatly upon what we put into it in terms of management; and how water is managed in particular basins and individual watersheds is the key to sustainable water management (Lant, 1999, Jackson et al 2001). The availability and quantity of this precious but infinite natural resource depend largely on its watershed (U.S. EPA, 2003).

The area that supplies water to a stream and its tributaries by direct runoff and by ground water runoff is the drainage area or watershed for the stream (Douglas et al., 1989). Watershed is also area of land that draws into a body of water such as stream, lake, river or ocean; it is separated from other watersheds by high points in the areas such as hills or slopes. It includes not only the water ways itself but also the entire land area that drains to it (SFWMD, 2004).  In effect, rain felling in a watershed flows downhill and eventually reaches the stream at the bottom (Shukla (2004). According to Gelt (1998);

Swallow et al, (2001), Shukla (2004), terms like catchment or drainage basin are also used to refer to watersheds, the term river basin sometimes is used synonymously with watershed.

Watershed management has become a prominent approach to natural resource management (NRM) in Australia and elsewhere in the world like Nepal USA etc. In the Australian State of New South Wales (NSW); catchments management, the NSW watershed management initiative has been in place both in coastal and non-coastal areas for nearly two decades.

Institutions are humanly devised constraints on behaviour made up of formal rules (constitutions, laws, contracts etc, informal rules (norms, cultures etc) and the enforcement characteristic of both (Badami, 2004). According to Igbokwe (2005) an institution is an enduring complex of norms, roles, values, beliefs and sanctions encompassing a prescribed aspect of human life. Institution can also mean that rules and norms guiding a community or a society. According to Saravanan (2001), institutions are the rules and organizations including informal norms that co-ordinate human behaviours. Thus, they could range from groups of farmers or persons organized to achieve a specific goal to formal organization such as research, educational or governmental establishments.

Before the advent of the colonial administration in Nigeria, most communities have different traditional methods for cleaning water surroundings. In Anambra State, most communities had traditional institutions who in the past had helped manage the watersheds. Among which are the men and women groups, the village/town unions, the....

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