Upstream nonpoint source pollution has become a significant threat to urban drinking water safety in the People's Republic of China. Payment for environmental services (PES) is seen as a promising mechanism to deal with the situation. In designing a sound PES, it is crucial to determine the willingness to pay (WTP) of urban beneficiaries for upstream water pollution controls. An analysis of household data from a contingent valuation survey conducted in Fuzhou in 2009 reveals that household income is the most important factor in determining respondents' positions on water tariff increases as well as WTP under a PES scheme. Mean WTP varies from Yuan (CNY) -0.45 per cubic meter to CNY0.86 for different income groups. The overall mean WTP is estimated to be CNY0.21, which is equivalent to a 10% increase in the current tariff, with the 95% confidence interval at (CNY0.12, CNY0.31). The point estimate implies a total annual WTP of Fuzhou City equal to CNY22 million, which is 27% less than the contribution of Fuzhou to an ongoing government-financed PES. However, with continuous water tariff increases, affordability among low-income households might arise as an issue. This calls for subsidies targeting low-income households to be incorporated in water tariff reform.
nonpoint source pollution payment for environmental services (PES) urban water