by Rossa O’Keeffe-O’Donovan, Economics PhD Candidate, University of Pennsylvania.
Which factors predict the functionality of hand pumps? Do communities free ride on their neighbors’ water sources? Are there positive spillover effects in the maintenance of nearby pumps? And what does this all mean for practitioners? This post gives an overview of my ongoing Economics PhD research, which tries to answer these questions.
Note: this research is still in progress, and I am seeking survey responses to complement my quantitative work, and help understand and interpret my results. If you have knowledge of how decisions are made in the installation and/or maintenance of hand pumps, please take this 8 minute survey here: bit.ly/PumpSurvey
Water in Sri Lanka, being an island, comes from precipitation and the average annual rainfall is 1900 mm that falls in two monsoon seasons. The total rainfall is equivalent to a volume of 120 billion cubic metres spread over the land surface which equates to 2400 cubic metres per capita at current population levels – which is expected to reduce to 1900 cubic metres at a population threshold expected to reach 23 million by 2025. The high intensity rains drain through 103 river basins with catchments of varying sizes ranging from 9 sq. km. to 10,327 sq.km. which is the largest Mahaweli river basin. Twenty river basins are covering wet zone of the country which carry about 50% of the annual surface runoff ( Sri Lanka Water Partnership).