In the context of arsenic contamination of groundwater in Bangladesh, this paper analyses rural people's preferences for arsenic-free drinking water options. A particular focus is on rural households' willingness to pay for piped water supply which can provide a sustainable solution to the arsenic problem, and how the preference for piped water supply compares with that for various other household/community-based arsenic mitigation technologies. The analysis is based on data collected in a survey of over 2700 households in rural Bangladesh. Six arsenic mitigation technologies were selected for the study: three-kolshi (pitcher) method, activated alumina method (household-based and community-based), dugwell, pond sand filter and deep tubewell (handpump). The survey results indicate that, after taking into consideration the initial and recurring costs, convenience, associated risks and the advantages and disadvantages of each selected technology, the preference of the rural people is overwhelmingly in favor of deep tubewells, followed by the three-kolshi method. The analysis reveals a strong demand for piped water in both arsenic-affected and arsenic-free rural areas, and scope of adequate cost recovery. Between piped water and other arsenic mitigation technologies, the preference of the rural people is found to be predominantly in favor of the former.

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