Perception of residents on the payment for water services in Kitwe, Zambia.

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Kabangu, Kelly
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The University of Zambia
Kitwe’s water sector is quite peculiar since historically, part of the city’s water was supplied by the mines almost for free and the other part was provided for by the local authority. Nkana Water and Sewerage Company (NWSC) is the commercial utility company that provides water in the city. It took over the water systems of the council and the mines. The company has been facing challenges in collecting revenue especially from the high density areas. These challenges may stem from the way residents of Kitwe perceive water. The objectives of this study were to investigate the history of water supply in Kitwe, determine the consumption rates and payment profile of water in different parts of Kitwe and determine the willingness to pay for water through a perception survey of residents in different parts of Kitwe. A mixed research design was used in this study. A sample of 300 household respondents and 16 key informants was used in this study. Stratified random sampling was used to ensure that both former Mine and Council townships were selected. Eight officials were selected from NWSC, two from KCC, two from ZCCM-Investment Holdings and four from ward development committees were selected. Data collection was done using a household questionnaire and interview guides for key informants. Thematic analysis was used to analyze qualitative data from interviews with Key Informants, some household respondent, secondary data and from observations. For quantitative data, descriptive statistics which include frequencies, tables, graphs and percentages where generated using SPSS IBM SPSS Statistics version 20 and Excel 2010. It was further used for inferential statistics in calculating for association, in this case, Pearson’s Chi Square Test to test for association between customer satisfaction and willingness to pay at 0.05 level of significance. The findings show that the history of water supply in Kitwe has influence on some Kitwe resident’s perception of water. Further, high consumption of water was more in low-density areas and less in the high-density areas of the city. In terms of township payment profiles, NWSC collected more revenue from the low density areas than the middle and high density ones. The study also established that low levels of water service satisfaction have contributed to low levels of willingness to pay among the residents. Furthermore, the study revealed that 77.7 percent of respondents perceived household supplied water as a commodity because of the operation costs involved Majority, (59 percent) of the respondents felt that they were paying more than the value of the water they received and were not willing to pay more for water services. There was an association between service satisfaction and willingness to pay for water (Chi-square=0.03 p <0.05). It was recommended that a lifeline water supply policy where a preset volume of 50-60 litres of water per person per day should be provided at minimal or no cost to the poor. Key words: Kitwe, Urban water supply, Willingness to pay, Scarcity,
Water supply--Kitwe , Water-supply--Zambia--Congresses. , Water resources development--Zambia--Congresses. , National Water Supply & Sanitation Council (Zambia)--Periodicals. , Sanitation--Zambia--Periodicals. , Water-supply--Zambia--Periodicals. , Water-supply--Costs--Juvenile literature.