Urban water scarcity and affordability in the Global South: A network of observatories and policy studies

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We propose to establish an EfD network of observatories on urban water scarcity, equity, and affordability. We will focus on one city in centers that have a research and policy engagement record around water (Costa Rica, Chile, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Ghana). Each center will commit to core activities plus 1-2 research collaborations. The core activities are 1) identifying secondary socio-economic and water-related data, 2) documenting existing pro-poor water programs, 3) hosting an urban water policy workshop, 4) identifying survey efforts that a proposed cross-country panel survey could leverage. Our immediate efforts will focus on water tariffs: when should utilities use increasing-block prices (IBP) or uniform prices (UP)? How can pro-poor policies complement each other and differ across countries? What are households’ opinions about these tariffs? We will answer these questions with estimations of demand elasticities, eliciting household’s perceptions of fair water prices, and estimating the incidence of subsidies based on utility billing records, secondary data and through a low-cost phone survey.

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Financed by
Environment for Development initiative
Project | 7 December 2023