Marketing Household Water Treatment: Willingness to Pay Results from an Experiment in Rural Kenya

June 26, 2014 · 2 comments

Marketing Household Water Treatment: Willingness to Pay Results from an Experiment in Rural Kenya. Water 2014, 6, 1873-1886; doi:10.3390/w6071873.

Annalise G. Blum 1, Clair Null 2 and Vivian Hoffmann 3,*
1 Department of Environmental Sciences & Engineering, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 148 Rosenau Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27516, USA; E-Mail:
2 Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA; E-Mail:
3 International Food Policy Research Institute, 2033 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail:

Despite increasing availability of household water treatment products, demand in developing countries remains low. Willingness to pay for water treatment products and factors that affect demand are not well understood. In this study, we estimate willingness to pay for WaterGuard, a dilute chlorine solution for point-of-use water treatment, using actual purchase decisions at randomly assigned prices. Secondly, we identify household characteristics that are correlated with the purchase decision. Among a sample of 854 respondents from 107 villages in rural Kenya, we find that mean willingness to pay is approximately 80% of the market price. Although only 35% of sample households purchased WaterGuard at the market price, 67% of those offered a 50% discount purchased the product.

A marketing message emphasizing child health did not have a significant effect on purchase behavior, overall or among the subset of households with children under five. These findings suggest that rural Kenyans are willing to pay for WaterGuard at low prices but are very sensitive to increasing price. Households with young children that could benefit the most from use of WaterGuard do not appear to be more likely to purchase the product, and a marketing message designed to target this population was ineffective.

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Praven Pillay July 18, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Dear Authors,

I refer to your article on liquid bleach POU. Control Chemicals based in South Africa is partner PSI Nigeria to introduce Waterguard powder which is the alternative new innovation that will far out-weighs liquid bleach use. One major advantage is the shelf life is 2 years and I have highlighted further information below:

Liquid sodium hypochlorite-based solutions for water disinfection in under-developed communities face 2 important technical
challenges: i) the inherent limitations of the chemical and ii) the challenge posed by‘real world’ conditions.
In summary:
• The true active concentration of sodium hypochlorite seldom equals the theoretical. So re-packers constantly need to assay
the active ingredient content, pH and ambient temperature to mitigate against decomposition.  
• Even after packing bleach remains unstable – particularly at temperatures at or above 30°C.  Repetitive opening and closing of containers at the point of consumption tends to accelerate this process.
In response to field research and feedback from NGO Watsan Operatives our Company concluded that there was a better, sustainable solution to the ‘bleach problem’. We set about developing a dry hypochlorite blend that we believe overcomes all
the shortcomings of liquid bleach. A formula that:
• Bleach powder is much more active (Per gram) than ordinary calcium hypochlorite because the formulation has been enhanced with an additive to raise the oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) in solution.
• Can be formulated to meet greater accuracy at the point-of-use.
• Remains stable even at elevated temperatures (over 24 months) .
• Will not be classified as hazardous for transport
The preliminary name for the blend: ‘Liquid Chlorine Powder’ was adopted because it informs the end user that, in solution, the chemistry is essentially unchanged – ie they are still getting/using a hypochlorite. Packaging options include:
Bleach powder is fine and free-flowing so it can be poured from a bottle just like liquid chlorine. The possibility also exists to produce a cap with a double
measurement action (top & bottom) similar to that used by PSI Madagascar under the ‘Clorin’ brand which allows users to measure for both 20lt and 5lt volumes which will now be launched in Nigeria under the WaterGuard branding.

Thanks and I look forward to having further discussion on this new innovation.

Kind regards,
Praven Pillay
Global Sales & Marketing
Control Chemicals SA
Other email:
Skype: praven.pillay


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