If rural water projects are to be both sustainable and replicable, improved planning is required where the participation of water users plays an important role, including a procedure for eliciting information on the value placed on different levels of service. The importance of the concept of willingness to pay (WTP) for water in rural areas has therefore been recognized for some time. In the view of recently launched Water Program in Kazakhstan aiming to give 80% of rural people piped water, the current research investigates the water users’ view to the water supply interventions and assesses the factors influencing consumers’ willingness to pay for a piped water supply.
In total, 2500 household questionnaires on access to water and sanitation, perceived characteristics of water source (quality, reliability, time spent, water treatment) and socioeconomic background were collected from 25 villages in Northern Kazakhstan. Initially the analysis included the comparison of official statistics and the gathered data in terms of the access to water and sanitation, and the overall willingness to connect to piped water system as it is seen from the consumers’ point of view. Binary logistic regression was used to identify the main drivers of willingness to connect and to pay for piped water services. Ordered regression was used to identify the drivers of WTP among different water users.
The most common water sources are private boreholes, wells and standpipes, which is significantly different from official statistics. A quarter of the respondents is not willing to connect to piped water and up to 70% of them use a private borehole supply. A small proportion would connect but think that access to water should be without charge. Although one third of the sample would be willing to pay, the payment suggested is quite low. Nevertheless, many of the respondents believe that water supply is the responsibility of the government, with only 13% believing that it is a local water consumer’s responsibility. The main factor influencing peoples’ willingness to pay is access to the existing water source and its perceived characteristics, such as water quality, reliability of the source, time spent to collect water, and water supply responsibility.
The results can be used to better identify the water supply scenario reflected in proper technological choice and the level of service to be provided; thus making rural water projects feasible at a larger scale. Furthermore, integration of local people into the decision-making process is a quite unique approach for the Central Asian countries that should facilitate the mechanisms to manage water supply and improve the efficiency of water policy.
Luzma Fabiola Nava and Sylvia Tramberend, Water Program, IIASA
Please note these Proceedings have received limited or no review from supervisors and IIASA program directors, and the views and results expressed therein do not necessarily represent IIASA, its National Member Organizations, or other organizations supporting the work.
Last edited: 03 February 2016
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