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Policy Note: Policy Responses to Ensure Access to Water and Sanitation Services During COVID-19: Snapshots from the Environment for Development (EfD) Network

Ebele Amaechina, Anthony Amoah, Franklin Amuakwa-Mensah (), Salome Amuakwa-Mensah, Edward Bbaale, Jorge A. Bonilla, Johanna Brühl, Joseph Cook (), Nnaemeka Chukwuone, David Fuente, Róger Madrigal-Ballestero, Rolando Marín, Pham Khanh Nam, Jackson Otieno, Roberto Ponce, Carlos A. Saldarriaga, Felipe Vásquez Lavín, Bárbara Viguera and Martine Visser ()
Additional contact information
Ebele Amaechina: Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria
Edward Bbaale: School of Economics, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
Jorge A. Bonilla: Department of Economics, Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Johanna Brühl: Environmental Policy Research Unit, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Joseph Cook: School of Economics Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman WA, USA
Nnaemeka Chukwuone: Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria
David Fuente: School of Earth, Ocean and Environment, University of South Carolina, Colombia, USA
Róger Madrigal-Ballestero: 0EfD-Central America/CATIE, Turrialba, Costa Rica
Rolando Marín: 1University of Costa Rica (UCR), San Jose, Costa Rica
Pham Khanh Nam: 2EfD-Vietnam, University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Jackson Otieno: 3Athi Water Works Development Agency, Nairobi, Kenya
Roberto Ponce: 4School of Business and Economics, Universidad del Desarrollo, Concepción, Chile15Center of Applied Ecology and Sustainability (CAPES), Chile16Water Research Center for Agriculture and Mining (CRHIAM), Concepción, Chile
Carlos A. Saldarriaga: 7Department of Economics, Universidad Nacional de Colombia - Sede Medellín, Colombia
Bárbara Viguera: 0EfD-Central America/CATIE, Turrialba, Costa Rica

Water Economics and Policy (WEP), 2020, vol. 06, issue 04, 1-14

Abstract: This policy note provides a snapshot of water and sanitation measures implemented by governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 14 countries in the Global South: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Chile, Colombia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Panama, South Africa, Uganda and Vietnam. We find that many countries have taken action to stop utility disconnections due to non-payment. With the exception of Ghana and Vietnam, few countries are instituting new water subsidy programs, and are instead choosing to defer customers’ bills for future payment, presumably when the pandemic recedes and households will be able to pay their bills. It is easier for the utilities’ COVID-relief policies to target customers with piped connections who regularly receive bills. However, the situation for unconnected households appears more dire. Some countries (e.g., Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda) are attempting to provide unconnected households temporary access to water, but these households remain the most vulnerable. This health crisis has accentuated the importance of strong governance structures and resilient water service providers for dealing with external health, environmental and economic shocks.

Keywords: COVID 19; water supply and sanitation; subsidies; customer assistance programs (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1142/S2382624X20710022

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