This article identifies factors which contribute to households’ willingness to pay for improving and protecting a multiple-use water scheme in Ethiopia. It does so through descriptive statistics, a probit model and contingent valuation methods complemented with qualitative data. Estimates suggest farmers’ willingness to pay is based on gender, the prevalence of waterborne disease, the time to collect water, contact with extension services, access to credit, level of income and location. Respondents would pay 3.43 per cent of average income to participate. Consideration of how gendered norms influence women’s access to extension, credit and local markets could extend the benefits of such schemes.