Demand for Environmental Quality: Evidence on Drinking Water from Kathmandu, Nepal

Hari Katuwal
Alok Bohara


This paper examines the demand for environmental quality, clean drinking water in particular, in Kathmandu, Nepal. Water supply is inadequate, unreliable and, low quality and is not directly potable. Kathmanduities engage in several strategies to cope with the unreliable and low quality of water supplies. Some of the major coping strategies are hauling, storing, boiling, and filtering. A Report on Water Survey of Kathmandu Valley 2005 observes that, over 45 per cent of households in Kathmandu valley filter water to make it potable. Similarly, about 39 per cent of households boil to make water safe. Use of Uro Guard and Solar Disinfection System (SODIS) are some of the other purification methods. To date, there has been little empirical analysis of such purification behaviors. This paper investigates these purification behaviors and factors influencing these behaviors. We consider different types of treatments as demand for environmental quality. Using Water Survey of Kathmandu, we estimate the effect of education level of household head, exposure to media, gender, caste, ethnicity and opinion of water quality on drinking water purification. Our result shows that people tend to increase boiling and filtering both instead of only one method if they are wealthier. In addition, household boil and then filter instead of boiling only and filtering only if they think that water delivered to the tap is dirty. Exposure to media has strongest effect in general for the selection of all available treatment modes.