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Effective Demand for In-Line Chlorination Bundled with Rental Housing in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Environmental Science & Technology  (IF9.028),  Pub Date : 2021-09-09, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.1c01308
Daniel W. Smith, Sonia Sultana, Yoshika S. Crider, Syed Anjerul Islam, Jenna M. Swarthout, Frederick G. B. Goddard, Atonu Rabbani, Stephen P. Luby, Amy J. Pickering, Jennifer Davis

Delivering safe water in cities of lower- and middle-income countries remains elusive even where there is a piped supply. Passive, in-line chlorination upstream of the point of water collection reduces child diarrhea without the behavior change required for point-of-use water treatment products or manual chlorine dispensers. We conducted a price experiment to measure effective demand (willingness and ability to pay) for an in-line chlorination service using tablet chlorinators among 196 landlords of rental housing properties in Dhaka, Bangladesh. We offered a 12-month subscription using Becker–DeGroot–Marschak auctions with real money payments. The service consistently delivered chlorinated water and satisfied tenants. Landlords’ effective demand for in-line chlorination was similar to or greater than that for point-of-use treatment products and manual chlorine dispensers previously documented among Dhaka households. Over the service period, landlords renting to low-income households had lower effective demand than those renting to middle-income households despite similar initial rates of payment across both groups. Making in-line chlorination financially viable for the lowest-income consumers would likely require service cost reductions, subsidies, or both. Our findings suggest that even revealed preference experiments may overestimate the effective demand needed to sustain water supply improvements, especially in low-income populations, if they only measure demand once.