Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture

Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture No. 4/06

Rural water pricing systems in Namibia:
effects on water use and livelihoods

Bernadette Bock and Michael Kirk
Philipps University Marburg, Germany


This paper investigates impacts of a water pricing programme introduced in rural Namibia after independence in 1990. The focus is on effects on resource use efficiency levels and household livelihoods related directly to the introduction of a water services fee system. The acceptance levels of the programme in the affected communities, as reflected through their willingness to pay the water fees, and the effectiveness of water-related institutions are also assessed. The investigation was administered within the framework of the BIOTA Southern Africa initiative on biodiversity change and site selection and was done in accordance with the BIOTA transect design. A simple random sampling technique was employed in villages closest to the BIOTA observatories. The survey found that willingness to pay for water is low and does not offset the costs involved when the programme is to be implemented on a total cost recovery basis, as planned by the responsible government authority.

Keywords: water pricing, livelihoods, community-based management, institutions, Namibia

JEL: Q15, Q25, Q28

Vol. 45 (2006), No. 4: 339-360