One of the greatest challenges facing developing countries is the provision of basic services and infrastructure. Provision of these services and infrastructure in these countries is often characterised by ineffectiveness, low quality, inaccessibility and unreliability. One basic service that has proven to be particularly problematic is the provision of water and sanitation, Poor delivery of this service affecting and is affected by the level of economic development of any nation. The main objectives of this study are to determine how much Swazi households are willing to pay (WTP) for an improvement in their water quality and quantity as well as establishing the possible factors affecting this WTP. This will help to put in monetary terms the value of good quality and quantity of domestic water in Swaziland as well as factors that affect this monetary value. The study used the Contingent Valuation Method (CVM) to evaluate improvements in domestic water quality and quantity, based on households’ perception of domestic water in Swaziland. The method involved an analysis of the factors determining households’ WTP for improved domestic water quality, quantity and the health risk concern from using it. The project covered the eleven main towns of Swaziland with a sample taken from both the rural and urban areas of the towns. The results obtained indicated that the WTP for the domestic water quality and quantity improvements is small but significant. There were more households in the rural areas willing to pay for improvements in the quality (67%) of water than in the urban areas (20%). The same trend was observed for the willingness to pay for water quantity. Approximately 58% of households in the rural areas and 6% of households in the urban areas were willing to pay for increased water quantity. However, the rural households were willing to pay on average an amount of E6.44 for improved water quality per month, which was much lower than the average amount urban households were willing to pay (E16.40). In contrast households in the rural area were more willing to pay for increased quantities (E7.13) than households in the urban areas (E6.82), albeit the small difference between the figures. On average the rural households were consuming less water (0.92m3) per month than their urban counterparts (6.92m3). Rural household heads earned an average income of E1269.49 made up a per capita mean income of E200 . Urban households heads’ average income was E4830 and the per capita mean income was E1092.00. Moreover, the survey results show that people aware of health hazards brought about by using unhealthy water are inclined to conserve the water quality by paying a fee for it. Not all the households were willing to pay for improvements in water services. In the urban areas, these were households that were satisfied with the status of the water condition (94%). And in the rural areas these were households that could not afford to pay for improvements (42%). In the latter case, the households mainly use non-monetary transactions for the exchange of services and goods and have never paid for water services before. They believed that access to adequate water quality and quantity was a basic right that should be provided by the government. In addition they did not trust their local authorities and believed that if they were to pay for improve water services their money would not be used accordingly.
Dissertation (MSc (Agricultural Economics))--University of Pretoria, 2007.