Factors influencing willingness of non-poor water customers to pay a pro-poor sanitation surcharge

Project Duration December 2016 - July 2017 Category: Public finance and sanitation planning Country: Kenya Delivered by: Aquaya
Themes: Public finance Research Sanitation Urban Sanitation Research Initiative Water


To build towards introduction of a sanitation surcharge that can provide a revenue stream for supporting the recurrent costs of sanitation services in low-income areas of Kenyan cities.


Findings indicate that 1) feelings of trust that money raised through a surcharge would be spent properly, and 2) solidarity with neighbours who have to use poor sanitation facilities are both important. The research also found that it will be easier to introduce a surcharge of this type if it’s associated with improvements in the quality of water and sanitation services as experienced by bill-payers themselves.

Median WTP was 100 Kenya shillings (Ksh) per month, around $1. If applied across all of Kenya’s 91 utilities, this could potentially raise up to 1.6 billion Ksh annually, around $16 million.

Next steps

This research project received excellent support from WASREB, the Kenyan national water regulator. WASREB are now working with the County Government of Nakuru and NAWASSCO (the utility in Nakuru) to introduce a pilot surcharge. The exact design of the surcharge is in development, and the pilot is scheduled to begin in 2019.

Read more