In the absence of piped water from a utility company, households rely on
alternative supply from small-scale private providers. We quantify
losses of wellbeing associated with using small-scale private providers
instead of piped water from the utility company. We measure welfare in
three dimensions: health, wealth (income), and time available for
education, work, or leisure. An empirical application to Burkina Faso
reveals that households' greatest welfare losses are in terms of time
availability. The opportunity cost of collecting water is estimated to
be 23 hours per week, which is comparable to half of a full weekly
working period of an employed person. This loss is often borne by women.
In terms of health and affordability of water, paradoxically, households
using alternative sources of water are slightly better off.
JEL Classification: L95, L33, I18
Keywords: piped water, small-scale private provision, welfare loss, synthetic index