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Do the urban poor want household taps? Community preferences and willingness to pay for household taps in Accra, Ghana

Adams, Ellis Adjei, Vásquez, William F.
Journal of environmental management 2019 v.247 pp. 570-579
cost effectiveness, households, public health, urban population, water quality, water utilities, willingness to pay, Ghana
In Sub-Saharan Africa, only 35% of the urban population has piped water on premises despite the economic (time savings) and public health benefits that household taps offer. In the urban informal settlements, even fewer people own household taps. However, while there is extensive literature on everyday urban water insecurity in the region, far less attention has focused on whether the urban poor are interested in private taps, and if so, what service attributes are important to them. We implemented a choice experiment in Nima, an urban settlement in Accra, Ghana, to investigate community preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for household taps. We used a comprehensive set of system attributes including days of service, service hours, water pressure, water quality, connection fees, monthly payment, and management, an attribute very few WTP studies have explored. Results from the choice experiment show that residents are more sensitive to time (not day) of service delivery, quality of water, connection fees, and monthly water bills. Households had no preference between a 24-h supply and 12-h supply during the day. Households preferred Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) as the service provider and were willing to pay more for a system managed by AMA, an indication of declining trust in GWCL. The findings provide valuable information that policymakers and water utilities can use to assess the feasibility and cost effectiveness of extending household taps to poor urban settlements.