Enhancing Access to Piped Water for Low-Income Households


Only 19 percent of Uganda’s population has access to safely managed, on-premises drinking water available when needed and free from contamination. Most of these residents live in the large towns, whereas service coverage in rural areas is as low as 9 percent. The number of piped water systems serving small towns and rural areas is increasing, however, typically only the wealthiest households have private connections. Access for low-income households is traditionally through water kiosks or public standposts, where water is usually more expensive than for connected customers. This learning brief describes how subsidized connection fees triggered demand for individual water connections in six small towns supported by the USAID Uganda Sanitation for Health Activity (USHA).

Low-income households, which had been identified through household surveys, were specifically targeted and received 50 percent of the new connections. Analyses of the billing records demonstrated that most of the newly connected low-income customers pay their water bills regularly. Subsidizing individual connections is therefore a viable strategy to extend safely managed water services to low-income households, with deliberate effort and intentional targeting interventions.

Publication Date
8 pages
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