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Title: Water Procurement Time and Its Implications for Household Water Demand—Insights from a Water Diary Study in Five Informal Settlements of Pune, India
Many private households spend considerable amounts of time accessing water, for instance by walking to and queuing at public access points, or by filling storage vessels at taps with low flow rates. This time has an opportunity cost, which can be substantial and may impact which water services and quantities of water households demand. In a novel form of diary study, we gathered detailed water consumption and time use data from 50 households in five informal settlements of the Indian metropolis Pune, accompanied by a household survey and in-depth interviews. With the data, we characterize water collection behaviors and assign monetary values to water procurement time. We statistically analyze the effects of time cost on consumed quantities in several two-level mixed-effect models. Household members in our sample spend up to several hours each day filling storage vessels, even if a private connection to the piped network is available. Average time cost amounted to the equivalent of 4.23–13.81% of monthly household cash income. Our analyses indicate that procurement time reduces quantitative water demand in a significant way. The households incurring the highest per-unit time cost consumed water quantities below minimum levels recommended for human health. This substantiates that time costs can impede access to water and are a relevant issue for water management and policy.  more » « less
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