This paper examines the practice of integrated water resources management (IWRM) in the Cross River Basin, Nigeria. Specific case studies have been made of the irrigation projects of the Cross River Basin Development Authority (CRBDA) to generate issues and examine implications on the concept of IWRM. A wide range of study methods, including semi-structured interviews, case studies of irrigation projects, personal correspondence, field visits, observation and secondary data was used in the research. In the results, it was observed that the CRBDA irrigation projects are highly under-utilised. The authority has acquired many hectares of land but has developed only 3.4%.There were a number of factors that explained this. These ranged from poor user interests and financing, fragmented and inconsistent policies, declining funding and political commitment as well as problems of accountable and transparent management practices. The paper argues that the above factors relate to the overall influences of macro and micro institutional processes as well as physical challenges that border on water and related resources management in the area. Based on these issues the paper concludes that the policy on IWRM in Nigeria was a sweeping experiment with no meaningful consideration of local contexts and circumstances as well as other institutional issues for operation.

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