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Water Sci Technol. 2011;63(6):1099-110. doi: 10.2166/wst.2011.347.

Application of a revised Water Poverty Index to target the water poor.

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Research Group on Cooperation and Human Development (GRECDH), Civil Engineering School, Universitat Polit├Ęcnica de Catalunya, Campus Nord, c/Jordi Girona 1-3, Edif C2, 08034 Barcelona, Spain.


The Water Poverty Index (WPI) has been recognized as a useful tool in policy analysis. The index integrates various physical, social and environmental aspects to enable more holistic assessment of water resources. However, soundness of this tool relies on two complementary aspects: (i) inadequate techniques employed in index construction would produce unreliable results, and (ii) poor dissemination of final outcome would reduce applicability of the index to influence policy-making. From a methodological point of view, a revised alternative to calculate the index was developed in a previous study. This paper is therefore concerned not with the method employed in index construction, but with how the composite can be applied to support decision-making processes. In particular, the paper examines different approaches to exploit the index as a policy tool. A number of alternatives to disseminate achieved results are presented. The implications of applying the composite at different spatial scales are highlighted. Turkana District, in Kenya has been selected as initial case study to test the applicability and validity of the index. The paper concludes that the WPI approach provides a relevant tool for guiding appropriate action and policy-making towards more equitable allocation of water resources.

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