Application of the water poverty index at different scales: a cautionary tale

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Sullivan, CA, Meigh, JR & Lawrence, P 2006, 'Application of the water poverty index at different scales: a cautionary tale', Water International, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 412-426.

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The Water Poverty Index is an integrated tool developed on the basis of extensive consultation with a range of scientists, practitioners and policymakers. It is primarily designed for use at the community level to enable more holistic water-resource assessments on a site-specific basis. It can however be applied at different scales to suit different needs. One of the motivations to design such a tool was an attempt to move away from the conventional, purely deterministic, approaches to water assessment, relying primarily on models and large-scale data. In today's world such an approach is inappropriate, ill representing the complexities of modern water-allocation decisions where economic, political and social issues all have a powerful role to play. This paper highlights some applications of the Water Poverty Index at different spatial scales and discusses the implications of applying indicators at these different scales.