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Title: Economic valuation of domestic water service : improvements in the North Central Province, Sri Lanka
Author: Rajapakshe, Prasanna Sisira Kumara
ISNI:       0000 0004 6351 9272
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2014
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Lack of access to quality water provision, unsustainable use and significant water-related health impacts give considerable challenges to water resource management hence become a central public policy issue in many developing countries. Despite the commitment at global level, demand and financing for public utility like water service improvements is lower than the societal demand, particularly in the developing world. Water sector improvements can potentially generate a wide range of socio-economic benefits hence it is important to estimate such benefits and document evidence in order to increase awareness and take correct policy decisions on domestic water management. This thesis estimates the benefits/demand for water quality and service improvements in a developing country context. The study has been conducted in the North Central Province, Sri Lanka, where majority of people depend on non-piped sources to meet the drinking and other domestic water requirements. Piped borne water supply schemes are often not available or not at an acceptable status and water related health impacts are common. Households in the area are making investments by practicing number of averting measure to improve the availability and quality of the current water supply. A Choice Experiment (CE) and Averting Behaviour Method (ABM) have been employed to estimate the benefits of water service improvements and to investigate the rural household choice of alternative water supply policy options and averting measures. Results from both approaches confirm that households (both existing piped and non-piped water users) are willing to pay substantial amounts for water service improvements, particularly for the improvement of water quality. Results of this study is also consistent with the theoretical explanations as the WTP using ABM is lower than the WTP generated from the CE analysis. Also it has found that people prefer to have lower connection fee to sign up with the piped water supply scheme and some form of repayment scheme rather than a lump sum connection fee. This suggest that introduction of flexible payment schemes might overcome a significant barrier to achieving high levels of connections in future water provisions for rural communities in the developing world. The Latent Class and Random Parameter Logit model results reveal that there is significant preference heterogeneity regarding water service improvements. Therefore, this suggests that policy initiatives relying on household financing need to be evaluated for the cost/benefit effects across diverse classes of households. The analysis also highlights that socio-economic characteristics of households and water quality parameters of existing sources are important determinants of preferences for improved piped water supply and practicing averting measures. This provides useful information for better understanding of why some respondents value improvements in water supply more than others. This study provide clear evidence that people have a strong preferences for signing up to improved piped water supply, hence the social benefits would outweigh the financial costs, and that the financial investment could be financed through private payment schemes. According to the results, provision of piped water supply would result in welfare improvements and its costs could be recovered from users sustainably. Therefore, based on the WTP estimates, this study conclude that there is a clear scope and potential for expanding the coverage of the piped water supply network as well as improving the quality and the service of the existing schemes. Investment in water infrastructure is more capital incentive, this stresses the importance of government's involvements by the means of taking measures for risk mitigating in investments and to take necessary regulatory measures for sustainable economic management of future water supply projects. However, as water is a basic requirement to sustain human life, it is recommended that any policy regarding water service improvements among the rural poor should be evaluated both based on economic efficiency criteria and based on social equity in water allocation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available