The potential for calculating a meaningful Water Poverty Index

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Sullivan, CA 2001, 'The potential for calculating a meaningful Water Poverty Index', Water International, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 471-480.

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One of the most significant failures in the development process has been our inability to match water demand to its supply. For a large portion of the world's population, this has meant a lack of provision of adequate water for domestic use, resulting in a significant loss of time and effort, especially on the part of women. While science can now provide us with detailed assessments of water resource availability, little to date has been done to link this to our knowledge of human resources and their geographical distributions. In order to manage these resources better, it is essential that they be addressed in a more holistic way. This paper provides a preliminary discussion of possible ways in which an interdisciplinary approach can be taken to produce a more holistic assessment of water stress, in such a way as to link physical estimates of water availability with the socio-economic drivers of poverty. To this end, some approaches to creating a Water Poverty Index are discussed, and it is hoped that this paper will generate interest and debate among a wide range of readers.

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