Micro water harvesting for climate change mitigation: Trade-offs between health and poverty reduction in Northern Ethiopia

H. Fitsum, Y. Mekonen, V.G.M. Linderhof, G. Kruseman, A. Mulugeta, G. Girmay, A. Zenebe

Research output: Book/ReportReportAcademic


Water harvesting is an important tool for mitigating the adverse effects of climate change. This report investigates the trade-offs between health and poverty reduction by considering the impacts of water harvesting on health in Tigray region, northern Ethiopia. In particular, we assess the prevalence of malaria in association with ponds and wells. Moreover, the determinants of malaria incidence are explored with multivariate analysis. Additionally, we investigate people¿s willingness to pay (WTP) for improved malaria control using a contingent valuation method (CVM). In particular, we applied a double-bounded dichotomous choice CV surveys to elicit households¿ WTP for improved health services to control malaria. With interval regression, the WTP was explained as a function of household characteristics, health and health service conditions, and village level factors. The malaria prevalence rate is very high, more than 30 percent in low land communities, although rates are higher after rainy season. This suggests that ponds and wells are important factors in determining the prevalence of malaria. Better conditions of housing and toilet type, availability of bed nets reduce incidence. Pond and well ownership affects the WTP for improved malaria control in a negative and positive way respectively indicating differences in their economic attractiveness. WTP decreases with altitude and thus malaria incidence. Education and household asset holding generally increases WTP for improved health services. The results suggest that valuation results on household¿s WTP in poor economies may be underestimated because of cash constraint. Consequently, alternative payment vehicles in eliciting households¿ WTP have to be considered. Similarly, the estimated mean WTP for the external health cost of wells and ponds may be underestimated. In our case, ponds and wells are not fully exploited, as our results suggest that they do not contribute to household income or welfare. In that case, the presence of ponds and wells pose high external costs to the economy
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherVrije Universiteit; Institute for Environmental Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Publication series

NamePREM working paper
PublisherVrije Universiteit; Institute for Environmental Studies


  • public health
  • malaria
  • wells
  • ponds
  • costs
  • water harvesting
  • climatic change
  • poverty
  • health services
  • ethiopia
  • development economics

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