Water consumers' willingness to pay for conservation of watersheds: a case of Nairobi County
Mose, John N
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Kenya's population of almost 40 million as per 2009 housing and population census exerts great pressure on natural economic resources like water. Kenya is classified as a water scarce country. The fresh water covers two per cent of the total surface area. The per capita' availability of water in 2007 was 647 M3/year against the recommended minimum of 1000 M'zyear by the United Nations and is projected to fall to 235M3/year in 2025 (Kenya's Vision 2030). This is a scaring trend considering that the population is growing at a rate of 2.7% per year (KNBS Census Report, 2009). To manage watersheds in Kenya, water users may be required to pay more . for water so as to give the communities around the catchment areas an incentive for them to conserve. This will contribute significantly to improvement of the environmental ecosystems by ensuring continuous supply of environmental services. The existing literature indicates payment for ecosystem/environmental services (PES) is working either for carbon or water (Landell-Mills and Porras, 2002; Pagiola and Platais, 2007). This study will explore the PES as a mechanism for financing conservation in Kenya. The study applied a dichotomous binary response probit model on primary data from a simple random sample of 128 randomly selected households. A descriptive technique was followed in the analysis. We noticed that the bid amounts (BA), age, monthly water expenditure were some of the factors affecting WTP. There are benefits of adopting conservation of our watersheds as it ensures a continuous flow of environmental services. Education had a negative relationship with WTP; perhaps more educated individuals felt that there could be alternative ways of assuring sustained water supply. They also focused on reducing water wastage, exploring alternative sources of water and educating people at catchment areas about the importance of protecting their own lands. Males were found to be more intent on paying for conservation than females.