Objective: Social and economic factors that are linked to the consumers of wastewater services oftentimes determine the sustainability of a sewage system, and consequently the level of environmental protection and public health conditions in the respective region. Taking into account that the consumers have to allocate a limited household income to different purposes, this research was carried out with the objective of assessing the affordability and willingness of the households to pay for the wastewater services. Methodology: The study was carried out at the Municipality of Bihać, which has foreseen a 40-million KM investment in the extension of the sewage networks and construction of a new wastewater treatment plant. The research was conducted by carrying out a household survey of 536 randomly selected households. Results: Based on the household survey, average household income of the respondents is in amount of 730 KM. Considering that an average monthly water and wastewater bill is 13.71 KM, this means that the current bill amounts 1.88% of the average household income. The current consumers are ready to pay additional 1-10 KM monthly per household for new services, which is below the average affordability (additional 15.5 KM per month). The households that are not connected to the sewage system have shown less willingness to pay the sewage services. This opinion may be of concern, because it can affect the bill collection rates once the households are connected and charged for the services provided. Conclusions: This study shows there is a willingness to pay for additional wastewater collection and treatment services, if such raise in prices is accompanied by an improved quality of services. It is possible to further increase water and wastewater bills, without jeopardizing the population’s affordability to pay. [Mater Sociomed 2011; 23(1.000): 38-42]

affordability to pay, willingness to pay, wastewater services, B&H

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