The aim of this study is to elicit local residents' willingness to pay (WTP), by applying the contingent valuation method as a surcharge on their water bill, for a given improvement in the drinking water quality and the supply reliability. The mean WTP for the drinking water quality improvement program was estimated to be 16.71 yuan (0.3% of total household income). The results note that more educated respondents and households with higher income and with fewer household members are, on average, willing to pay more. This study also demonstrates that respondents' concerns regarding drinking water quality and perceptions of the health risk of drinking water quality can have significant positive impacts on people's WTP. The research results can help decision-makers understand the local population's demand for improved drinking water quality and undertake an environmental cost–benefit analysis.