Cost-Benefit Analysis of the USAID/Uganda Water Infrastructure


Project Overview


To determine which of four proposed water supply technologies represents an economically feasible investment.

Project Motivation

USAID Uganda is considering investing in water supply technologies to address water supply, access and associated health and productivity issues. Mathematica contributed to the decision-making process with our expertise in water supply infrastructure and conducting CBAs.

Partners in Progress

Integra LLC

Prepared For

U.S. Agency for International Development

Mathematica conducted an ex-ante cost-benefit analysis of four water supply infrastructure technologies for USAID Uganda mission. This analysis will aid the mission to prioritize investment among the alternatives.
USAID has been involved in development work in Uganda since the early 1960s and has provided significant support to the country's water sector over the years. The water sector has been a priority area for USAID in Uganda and help address water stress related challenges faced in the Karamoja sub-region of Uganda, USAID/Uganda is considering a resilience and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) activity. USAID/Uganda mission tasked Mathematica and Integra to conduct a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) of four different water infrastructure technologies: (1) boreholes with handpumps, (2) boreholes with solar pumps, (3) subsurface storage (sand dams), and (4) surface storage (valley tanks).

We had three major accomplishments: (1) Produced a clear conceptualization of client investments: We provided clients with a clear conceptualization of the technologies they proposed reviewing. (2) Produced a clear and intuitively structured CBA model: We produced a high-quality cost-benefit analysis model. The model structure ensures clarity, usability and transparency of all data used for parameterization. 3) Transparency in data used. We ensured complete transparency of all data and assumptions used. 

The analysis finds that three of the four technologies have high returns. Borehole with handpump, borehole with solar pump and sand dam all have benefit-cost ratios that exceed two (every dollar invested returns over two dollars in economic benefits), driven by health benefits and agricultural benefits. Finally, we propose that a combination of two technologies (sand dams and borehole with solar pump) has the highest potential social benefits in addition to high benefit-cost ratio.

Related Staff

Ali Akram

Ali Akram

Senior Researcher

View Bio Page
Evan Christo

Evan Christo

Research Associate

View Bio Page

See Clearly. Act Quickly.

From local to global challenges in health, human services, and international development, we’re here to improve public well-being and make progress together. Learn more about becoming a Mathematica client or partner.

Work With Us