Smart pricing for sustainable, equitable water distribution

Smart pricing for sustainable, equitable water distribution in urban Faisalabad

As Pakistan's urban population grows rapidly, so too does demand for water in urban areas. This strains public service delivery and water infrastructure, leaving many without access to filtered water and increasing the prevalence of disease and malnutrition.

This is increasingly the case for the growing industrial city of Faisalabad, Punjab, where most residents use unfiltered water sources. Faisalabad's pipes can only connect 30 percent of the population to the water provided by its public water utility, and much of that water is contaminated in transit because of degraded pipe infrastructure.

Part of the solution to increasing access to water is to study how residents consume filtered and unfiltered water – particularly, what sources of water they use and how their consumption changes in response to shifts in water price, income and other factors. Drawing from an original household survey of Faisalabad, this project provides detailed information on water consumption habits in the city and reveals the most salient factors shaping water demand. It offers policy recommendations for leveraging these factors to make water consumption more sustainable, equitable and conducive to development.

Project Authors
Shabbir Ahmed, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Australian Institute of Business and Economics, University of Queensland
Usman Mirza, Researcher, Critical Transitions in Society and Nature, Waginengen University and Research Centre
Saleem H. Ali, Professor of Energy and the Environment, University of Delaware
Hina Lotia, Director Programmes, Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD)


Analysing household water demand in urban areas: Empirical evidence from Faisalabad, the industrial city of Pakistan
August 2016

Read the policy brief
Read the report


Challenge of water pricing
The News International | 5 July 2016 | Syed Muhammad Abubakar