IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Heterogeneous users and willingness to pay in an ongoing payment for watershed protection initiative in the Colombian Andes


  • Moreno-Sanchez, Rocio
  • Maldonado, Jorge Higinio
  • Wunder, Sven
  • Borda-Almanza, Carlos


Flat fees in payment for environmental services (PES) schemes promote administrative ease, and are perceived as egalitarian. However, when environmental-service (ES) buyers are heterogeneous in their income and water-consumption levels, this scheme may not be optimal, as total payments might become too low and services under-supplied. This paper estimates willingness to pay (WTP) higher fees from hydrological-service buyers in an ongoing PES initiative in an Andean watershed in Colombia, where small, flat user payments have been introduced. ES users fall into two highly heterogeneous categories: smallholder peasants and recreational-house owners. We perform a contingent valuation analysis in a representative sample of 218 households. For improved water services, ES buyers on average are willing to pay monthly about US$1 premium over current flat PES rate. Users’ heterogeneity, however, affects significantly this outcome: while recreational-house owners are willing to pay monthly on average US$1.61 more than the current fee, smallholders only US$0.41. Spatial variables, such as distance to the water distribution point and to the town center, importantly influence WTP. Results may help designing user-driven PES schemes in line with efficiency and equity objectives.

Suggested Citation

  • Moreno-Sanchez, Rocio & Maldonado, Jorge Higinio & Wunder, Sven & Borda-Almanza, Carlos, 2012. "Heterogeneous users and willingness to pay in an ongoing payment for watershed protection initiative in the Colombian Andes," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 126-134.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:75:y:2012:i:c:p:126-134
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2012.01.009

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Whittington, Dale, 1998. "Administering contingent valuation surveys in developing countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 21-30, January.
    2. Dale Whittington & Stefano Pagiola, 2012. "Using Contingent Valuation in the Design of Payments for Environmental Services Mechanisms: A Review and Assessment," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 27(2), pages 261-287, August.
    3. Asquith, Nigel M. & Vargas, Maria Teresa & Wunder, Sven, 2008. "Selling two environmental services: In-kind payments for bird habitat and watershed protection in Los Negros, Bolivia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 675-684, May.
    4. Paul J. Ferraro & R. David Simpson, 2002. "The Cost-Effectiveness of Conservation Payments," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 78(3), pages 339-353.
    5. Whittington, Dale, et al, 1990. "Estimating the Willingness to Pay for Water Services in Developing Countries: A Case Study of the Use of Contingent Valuation Surveys in Southern Haiti," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 293-311, January.
    6. Pagiola, Stefano, 2008. "Payments for environmental services in Costa Rica," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 712-724, May.
    7. Briscoe, John, et al, 1990. "Toward Equitable and Sustainable Rural Water Supplies: A Contingent Valuation Study in Brazil," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 4(2), pages 115-134, May.
    8. Whittington, Dale & Lauria, Donald T. & Mu, Xinming, 1991. "A study of water vending and willingness to pay for water in Onitsha, Nigeria," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 179-198.
    9. Clifford S. Russell & William J. Vaughan & Christopher D. Clark & Diego J. Rodríguez & Arthur H. Darling, 2001. "Investing in Water Quality: Measuring Benefits, Costs and Risks," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 22398, February.
    10. repec:idb:brikps:22398 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Johnson, Nancy L. & Baltodano, Maria Eugenia, 2004. "The economics of community watershed management: some evidence from Nicaragua," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 57-71, May.
    12. John P. Hoehn & Douglas J. Krieger, 2000. "An Economic Analysis of Water and Wastewater Investments in Cairo, Egypt," Evaluation Review, , vol. 24(6), pages 579-608, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Abigail Barr & Trudy Owens & Ashira Perera, 2017. "Collective action when public good returns are heterogeneous," Discussion Papers 2017-05, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
    2. Dulce Rodrigues & Paulo Oliveira & Teodorico Alves Sobrinho & Eduardo Mendiondo, 2013. "Hydrological benefits in the context of Brazilian environmental services program," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 1037-1048, August.
    3. Veronesi, Marcella & Chawla, Fabienne & Maurer, Max & Lienert, Judit, 2014. "Climate change and the willingness to pay to reduce ecological and health risks from wastewater flooding in urban centers and the environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 1-10.
    4. Vargas, Andrés & Díaz, David, 2014. "Community-based conservation programs and local people willingness to pay for wildlife protection: The case of the cotton-top tamarin in the Colombian Caribbean," REVISTA LECTURAS DE ECONOMÍA, UNIVERSIDAD DE ANTIOQUIA - CIE, issue 81, pages 187-206, April.
    5. Yaella Depietri & Lorenzo Guadagno & Margaretha Breil, 2013. "Urban Watershed Services For Improved Ecosystem Management and Risk Reduction, Assessment Methods and Policy Instruments: State of the Art," Working Papers 2013.101, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:75:y:2012:i:c:p:126-134. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.