Water Resources Management

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 975–992 | Cite as

Sustaining Reforms in Water Service Delivery: the Role of Service Quality, Salience, Trust and Financial Viability

  • Olivia JensenEmail author
  • Namrata Chindarkar


The long-term success of water service reforms depends on sufficient revenues being collected from users to allow access to be extended and quality of service to be maintained, given constraints on the availability of other sources of funding. Financial sustainability will be undermined if a large proportion of users do not pay their water bills. Using household survey data collected around a unique water supply intervention to provide universal piped connections with continuous supply in the city of Nagpur in India, this paper explores the determinants of household water bill payment. We consider the importance of global service improvements and service extension, coping behaviours, specific service quality measures, and behavioural factors affecting decisions, including salience, trust and social norms, as well as external constraints. We find that global service improvements and extensions are strongly associated with bill payment, alongside salience and trust in the utility. Our findings highlight the advantages of integrated, area-wise reform programmes in improving service and achieving financial sustainability.


Urban water services Access to water Utility financing Water policy reform Survey data India 



We thank Luu Diu Khue and Aditi Raina for their excellent research assistance. We are thankful to the Institute of Water Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore for its financial support. Research design, collection, analysis and interpretation of data, writing and submission of the article was entirely the responsibility of the authors. The findings, interpretations, conclusions, and any errors are entirely those of the authors.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest


Supplementary material

11269_2018_2154_MOESM1_ESM.docx (61 kb)
Supplementary materials Table A1, A2, A3, A4 (DOCX 60 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Water Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public PolicyNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Lee Kuan Yew School of Public PolicyNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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