The productive use of rural piped water in Senegal

Ralph P. Hall
School of Public and International Affairs, Urban Affairs and Planning Program, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA; rphall@vt.edu

Eric A. Vance
Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Statistical Analysis (LISA), Department of Statistics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA; ervance@vt.edu

Emily van Houweling
Women and Gender in International Development, Office of International Research, Education, and Development (OIRED), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA; evh@vt.edu

ABSTRACT: Over the past decade there has been a growing interest in the potential benefits related to the productive use of rural piped water around the homestead. However, there is limited empirical research on the extent to which, and conditions under which, this activity occurs. Using data obtained from a comprehensive study of 47 rural piped water systems in Senegal, this paper reveals the extent of piped-water-based productive activity occurring and identifies important system-level variables associated with this activity. Three-quarters (74%) of the households surveyed depend on water for their livelihoods with around one-half (54%) relying on piped water. High levels of piped-water-based productive activity were found to be associated with shorter distances from a community to a city or paved road (i.e. markets), more capable water system operators and water committees, and communities that contributed to the construction of the piped water system. Further, access to electricity was associated with higher productive incomes from water-based productive activities, highlighting the role that non-water-related inputs have on the extent of productive activities undertaken. Finally, an analysis of the technical performance of piped water systems found no statistically significant association between high vs. low levels of productive activity and system performance; however, a positive relationship was found between system performance and the percentage of households engaged in productive activities.

KEYWORDS: Multiple-use water services, domestic plus, technical performance, water committee capacity, rural piped water, Senegal