Assessing willingness to pay for water during the COVID-19 crisis in Ugandan households
Sempewo, Jotham Ivan
Tumutungire, Martin Dahlin
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With the emergence of COVID-19, improving hygiene through handwashing with water and detergent is a priority. This behavioural practice requires that households have access to reliable improved water. One measure that can provide an invaluable source of information to measure access to improved water supply is willingness to pay (WTP). However, little is known about WTP for water during a pandemic such as COVID-19. Data from a cross-sectional survey was used to assess potential household determinants of WTP for water during March-June 2020 in 1639 Ugandan households. The focus is on the period March-June 2020 when the government of Uganda implemented a countrywide total lockdown in a bid to curb the spread of the deadly virus. Results indicate that most households were not willing to pay for water during March-June 2020. Sex of the household head, region of residence, water source, number of times hands are washed and whether a household buys or pays for water were significant explanatory household determinants for WTP for water. The results provide a rich understanding of the household factors that determine WTP for water during a pandemic. This evidence is important in guiding government and water utilities in developing sustainable regulations and policy interventions particularly during emergencies. The findings suggest that increasing or maintaining water revenues will be a challenge in emergencies if no attention is placed to addressing the disparity in socio-economic attributes associated with households’ WTP.
- Social Sciences