Social Indicators Research

, Volume 127, Issue 2, pp 741–759 | Cite as

Measuring disparities in access to water based on the normative content of the human right

  • O. Flores Baquero
  • A. Jiménez Fdez. de Palencia
  • A. Pérez Foguet


Measuring access to water in the Sustainable Development Goals era involves taking into account the human rights framework. Therefore, its content should be considered to conceptualize the level of service through adequate indicators and to follow-up inequities reduction at global, national and local level. This research develops and tests a methodology to measure intra-community disparities based on human right to water normative criteria through a stratified sampling, splitting households served by community based organizations and those self-provided. This approach implies considering much reduced populations, thus special care needs to be taken with sample sizes and uncertainty of estimators. The proposed methodology is practical to locate and accurately characterize minority sectors within rural communities and allows moving beyond central-tendency estimators. It implies higher costs for field data collection than traditional approaches, but this can be assumed given the relevance of the approach from a human rights perspective, which calls for adequate tools for equity-oriented policy making at local level. The research point out how results might be used to shape decision-making processes.


Disparities Human right to water Non-discrimination Sampling Self-supply Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 



The authors would like to thank ONGAWA-Engineering for Human Development and the Centre for Cooperation and Development (CCD) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) for supporting this research. Moreover, authors would like to express their gratitude to technical staff from San Sebastián de Yalí Municipality and Ministry of Health (Minsa) and students from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua (UNAN-León) for their valuable contribution during field work. The authors are grateful to Ricard Giné Garriga (UPC) for his useful comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Group on Engineering Sciences and Global Development, University Research Institute for Sustainability Science and Technology (IS.UPC)Universitat Politècnica de CatalunyaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Stockholm International Water InstituteStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Research Group on Engineering Sciences and Global Development, IS.UPC, Department of Applied Mathematics III, Civil Engineering SchoolUniversitat Politècnica de CatalunyaBarcelonaSpain

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