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Price Responsiveness of Residential, Industrial and Commercial Water Demand in Sri Lanka


  • Dinusha Dharmaratna
  • Jaai Parasnis


Appropriate pricing of water is critical for improving the efficiency of pipe-borne water supply systems in many developing countries. However, existing literature on residential, industrial and commercial water demand has primarily focused on developed countries. This paper estimates the demand for pipe-borne water from residential, industrial and commercial sectors in Sri Lanka. Price elasticity for residential consumers ranges from -0.06 to -0.58 and the income elasticity varies from 0.04 to 0.13. For industrial and commercial sectors, price is not a significant variable in determining water demand. These findings suggest that price increases, in isolation, may not substantially reduce the demand for water and hence have limited role in demand management. However, the inelastic nature of water demand can enable the water utility to improve its financial viability and revenues. The paper provides the empirical foundations for pipe-borne water planning and policies making in developing countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Dinusha Dharmaratna & Jaai Parasnis, 2010. "Price Responsiveness of Residential, Industrial and Commercial Water Demand in Sri Lanka," Monash Economics Working Papers 44-10, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2010-44

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:ipg:wpaper:2014-484 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Tomas Havranek & Zuzana Irsova & Tomas Vlach, 2017. "Measuring the Income Elasticity of Water Demand: The Importance of Publication and Endogeneity Biases," Working Papers IES 2017/02, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Feb 2017.

    More about this item


    water demand; water pricing; block pricing; Sri Lanka;

    JEL classification:

    • Q21 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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