Household Demand for Water in Rural Kenya

  • Jake WagnerEmail author
  • Joseph Cook
  • Peter Kimuyu


To expand and maintain water supply infrastructure in rural regions of developing countries, planners and policymakers need better information on the preferences of households who might use the sources. Using data from 387 households in rural Kenya, we model source choice and water demand using a discrete-continuous (linked) demand model. We find that households are sensitive to the price, proximity, taste, and availability in choosing among sources, but are not sensitive to other source qualities including color, health risk, and risk of conflict. Estimates of the value of time implied by our model suggest that households value time spent collecting water at one third of unskilled wages. We use the linked demand framework to estimate own-price elasticities in the rural setting. These estimates range between − 0.13 and − 1.33, with a mean of − 0.56, and are consistent with other elasticity estimates from small and large cities.


Rural water supply Water source choice Value of travel time Water quality Kenya Household water demand WASH Water collection Discrete-continuous demand 



We thank Annalise Blum, Josephine Gatua, Mark Mwiti, and John Wainana for valuable assistance in the field and in data analysis. We also thank Dale Whittington, Celine Nauges, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments and suggestions. Funding for the project was provided by Environment for Development-Kenya with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Economic SciencesWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  2. 2.Commission for Revenue AllocationNairobiKenya

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