Water scarcity is a major and growing problem in Nigerian rural areas, leading to the emergence of private for-profit water services providers (PPWSPs). This paper characterizes the landscape of PPWSPs in Nigerian rural communities using information collected from field observations, in-depth interviews, questionnaire surveys, and from published water resources literature. The data collected were analysed through the use of descriptive statistical tools. The results revealed the characteristics, categories, contributions and concerns of water users regarding water supplies by PPWSPs. Responses show that PPWSPs are helping to engender development, guarantee end-users with access to sufficient and reliable supplies and reduce water shortages in the study communities. Sixty four percent of sampled households depend on PPWSPs for their water requirements. Many PPWSPs operate outside the purview of government regulations and have differentiated service modes and prizes to gain wider acceptability. Despite the progress made by PPWSPs, however, the strategy can neither guarantee universal access nor the supply of safe drinking water. Significant barriers to the operations of PPWSPs, how to close the policy-gaps that constrain services delivery by PPWSPs and improve performances through setting of standards and regulatory reforms are discussed.
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