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2013-07-24 | EfD Discussion Paper

Risk Perception, Choice of Drinking Water, and Water Treatment Evidence from Kenyan Towns

Onjala, Joseph, Simon Wagura Ndiritu and Jesper Stage. 2013. “Risk Perception, Choice of Drinking Water, and Water Treatment Evidence from Kenyan Towns.” Environment for Development Discussion Paper Series EfD DP 13-10.
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This study uses household survey data from four Kenyan towns to examine the effect of households’ characteristics and risk perceptions on their decision to treat/filter water as well as their choice of main drinking water source.

Because the two decisions may be jointly made by the household, a seemingly unrelated bivariate probit model is estimated. It turns out that treating non-piped water and using piped water as a main drinking water source are substitutes. The evidence supports the finding that perceived risks significantly correlate with a household’s decision to treat/filter unimproved non-pipe water before drinking it. The study also finds that higher connection fees reduce the likelihood of households connecting to the piped network. Because the current connection fee acts as a cost hurdle that deters households from getting a connection, the study recommends a system where households pay the connection fee in instalments, through a prepaid water scheme or through a subsidy scheme.