Valuing water, valuing livelihoods: guidance on social cost-benefit analysis of drinking-water interventions, with special reference to small community water supplies

Economic criteria shape investments in drinking-water supply systems and services. Yet, often they may be defined in a narrow sense and economic returns may be evaluated in strictly financial terms. The result is an emphasis on large, urban infrastructural works. Yet, a large part of the world's population in rural and peri-urban areas relies on small community water supplies. This publication addresses the broader issues of social cost-benefit analysis performed on options to invest in drinking-water supplies, with a focus on small community suppliers. It was written by a multi-disciplinary team, bases itself on experience on the ground and provides many practical examples of how to deal with economic issues of drinking-water supply in the context of the livelihood strategies and public health priorities of people living in small communities, from policy to practice.