Conexiones a Agua Potable para los Hogares en Tánger, Marruecos

Location:
Tanger, Morocco
Sample:
1.000 propietarios de viviendas en las zonas urbanas
Línea de tiempo:
2007 - 2008
Target group:
Urban population
Outcome of interest:
Citizen satisfaction Diarrhea
AEA RCT registration number:
AEARCTR-0001649

Partners:

Policy issue

Los hogares en los países en vías de desarrollo, dedican una cantidad considerable de tiempo en recolectar agua potable. Esto representa una carga para todos los miembros del hogar, pero en muchos países afecta principalmente a las mujeres y niñas. Esta carga causa estrés y tensión entre las distintas familias de un barrio y también dentro de cada familia. La mayoría de los programas que conectan a los hogares pobres a la red de agua potable lo hacen principalmente para mejorar la salud física de los beneficiarios. Sin embargo, más allá del efecto directo que esto pueda tener sobre la salud física, mejorar el acceso a agua potable puede tener importantes efectos sobre el bienestar del hogar. Por un lado, el bienestar podría aumentar: al reducir el  tiempo que implica recolectar el agua, no sólo se libera tiempo que puede ser dedicado al ocio o la producción (trabajo pagado o estudio), sino que además elimina una fuente importante de estrés y tensión. Por otro lado, el bienestar podría disminuir: Si las mujeres tuvieran prohibiciones o restricciones para circular fuera de casa, liberarlas de la tarea de ir a buscar agua les quita su única oportunidad de salir, limitando una importante fuente de oportunidades de sociabilizar, lo que reduciría su bienestar.

Context of the evaluation

En zonas urbanas de Marruecos, donde se desarrolla este estudio, los hogares que usan grifos de agua públicos utilizan más de siete horas a la semana recolectando agua, a pesar de que estos grifos tienen una densidad relativamente alta. En nuestra muestra, 65% de los hogares sin conexión a agua potable declaran que el agua es una de sus mayores preocupaciones, 15% han tenido conflictos en la familia relacionados con el agua y 12% han tenido conflictos con sus vecinos. Por tanto, el acceso al agua parece ser una de las principales fuentes de estrés y tensión, tanto intrafamiliar como interfamiliarmente.

Facilitating the purchase of a private water connection on credit improved households’ quality of life. Photo: Aude Guerrucci | J-PAL/IPA

Details of the intervention

In 2007, Amendis, the local affiliate of Veolia Environnement, an international, private utility company, launched a social program that offered low-income households in Tangier, Morocco a chance to get an in-home connection to the city water system. Amendis identified three zones to work in, and then a team surveyed households within those areas to find those that were not connected to the city water system. Almost 60 percent of unconnected households relied on public taps for their water. Of the households relying on the public taps, about one in five lived close enough to the public tap to use a hose to fill water containers, but the rest had to take their containers to the public tap. Households that filled containers at the public taps spent more than seven hours a week collecting water. The 40 percent of households not getting their water from the public taps were using a neighbor’s connection; these informal connections are technically illegal, but often overlooked.

Amendis offered low-income households in the three zones a chance to buy a connection to the water and sanitation network at full price, but on interest-free credit. Depending on the zone’s distance from the water grid, households in that zone were offered a three, five, or seven-year loan that would be paid off at MAD 105 (US$15) per month with their monthly water bill. This is a substantial expense for these households: at the time, the minimum hourly wage in Morocco was MAD 9.6, and this likely overestimates the average wage among these low-income households as a majority of individuals were either casual workers or unemployed.

Group Loan offer Encouragement
Treatment Interest-free loanfrom Amendis to buy awater connection, paidback at MAD 105 permonth over three, five,or seven years
  • Door-to-door awareness campaign to encourage householdsto buy a connection.
  • Pre-approval for the loan from the authorities.
  • Project officers assisted households in preparing allpaperwork and identification documents required for theapplication.
  • Branch officer visited households to collect the downpayment.
Comparison Interest-free loanfrom Amendis to buy awater connection, paidback at MAD 105 permonth over three, five,or seven years No application assistance given.

Because both the treatment and comparison groups were eligible for the loan program, the researchers used a randomized encouragement design to evaluate the impact of the program. The assistance that treatment group households received in applying for a connection made them much more likely to buy a water connection. The difference in the proportion of people that enroll in the program in the treatment and comparison groups enables researchers to estimate the impact of the program.

Households were surveyed in 2007, before the start of the program, and again in 2008, five months after the water connections were installed in treatment households that enrolled. Information was collected on household socioeconomic characteristics, health, hygiene practices, water collection, work and work-related conditions, time use, and social networks. In a random subset of households, the water was tested for levels of chlorine and the presence of E. coli. Households with children under 15 years old were asked to fill out a month-long “illness diary” to track instances of fever, vomiting, or diarrhea in the children, and children’s school participation was also tracked with surveys.

In January 2009, all comparison-group houses were informed about the program, including information on the various procedures required to apply for it, as part of a survey debrief. Administrative data on in-home water connection applications was obtained in August of 2009 to find out whether comparison-group houses had subsequently applied for a connection.

Results and policy lessons

Como los hogares que participaron tenían ya acceso a la red de agua potable mediante grifos públicos, no se encontraron mejoras en la calidad del agua que consumieron. A pesar de un significativo aumento en la cantidad de agua consumida, no se encontraron cambios relativos a enfermedades contraídas por el agua. Sin embargo, los hogares están dispuestos a pagar una considerable suma de dinero para tener un grifo privado en casa. Conectarse a la red de agua potable, trae importantes ganancias de tiempo, pero no trae aumentos en la participación en el mercado laboral, el ingreso o en los logros escolares. Al parecer, el tiempo ganado es dedicado al ocio y las actividades sociales. Además, dado que el agua es una fuente de tensión entre los hogares, la integración social parece verse mejorada debido a las conexiones particulares. En conclusión, a pesar del costo financiero, la utilidad y la felicidad reportada por los hogares, mejora considerablemente cuando se conectan al sistema de agua potable.

Devoto, Florencia, Esther Duflo, Pascaline Dupas, William Parienté, and Vincent Pons. 2012. "Happiness on Tap: Piped Water Adoption in Urban Morocco." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy 4(4): 68-99.