Water scarcity can be a growth-limiting factor. Non-conventional water resources, such as desalinated water, represent an alternative means of guaranteeing access to water while reducing water stress. In this study, a contingent valuation survey carried out in Djerba Island, Tunisia, allows the joint modelling of two decisions: societal support for the construction of a desalination plant and households’ willingness to pay for desalinated water. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, no study to date has addressed this relationship. We find that although a clear majority of households are in favour of using desalinated water, far fewer are willing to pay for it. The article concludes that it is worth studying willingness to pay for desalinated water in developing countries in order to avoid investing in projects where it is doubtful that costs will be recouped.

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