Water Quality Perceptions and Willingness to Pay: Valuing River Water Quality Using Contingent Valuation Method

Md. Ariful Islam, Siti Aznor Ahmad and Rabiul Islam

The ecosystem benefits associated with the rivers in Dhaka city decline due to industrial and municipal pollution. To recover the lost ecosystem services, an improvement of water quality proposes up to swimmable level (Type II) for the Buriganga river in Bangladesh. This paper explores how and what extent water quality perceptions influence the respondent’s willingness to pay for improving water quality. Utilizing data from 478 household surveys, we analyse responses to a contingent valuation scenario using both probit and interval data model (DBDC). We estimate a mean household WTP for improved water quality up to the swimmable level of BDT 19.35 (US$0.23) per 1000 litre water use. We also find that the majority of the respondents perceive that the water quality of Burigangais degraded to certain degrees. Furthermore, the perceived water quality of the respondents has a significant impact on WTP for improved water quality. More importantly, while perceptions of quality (and thus WTP) are highly related to subjective beliefs, actual water quality provides a better understanding of water quality perceptions. These findings suggest that interventions aiming torestore river water quality should account for underlying perceptions of water quality. Additionally, regarding economic valuation of the river resources, the urban ecosystem mangers should direct their efforts to obtain in-depth knowledge of people’s perceptions and beliefs to incorporate into the decision making.

Volume 11 | 05-Special Issue

Pages: 1011-1022