Water Resources Management

, 25:3595 | Cite as

Analyzing Water Poverty in Basins

  • Agustí Pérez-Foguet
  • Ricard Giné Garriga


Inadequate provision of water-related services in developing countries continues to undermine strategies for poverty alleviation. The root lies in the inability of policy makers to tackle resource development in a holistic and integrated manner. This requires a multi-faceted approach to combine physical estimates of water availability with the socio-economic drivers of poverty. It is with this in mind that the Water Poverty Index (WPI) was created. However, water resources are dynamic, and the linkages between water scarcity and poverty incorporate complex cause-effect relationships. Water poverty should thus be addressed in a more systemic way. This would allow a comprehensive understanding of the crosscutting nature of water issues and impacts. In this paper, a system approach has been adopted to develop a structured framework for a multi-dimensional evaluation of water poverty in basins. It is an attempt to assess the diverse, interacting components of catchment processes, societal pressures, and policy actions. An enhanced Water Poverty Index (eWPI) has been developed and is proposed in this study. To exemplify the utilisation of the index, and to test its applicability and validity, eWPI has been piloted in a Peruvian watershed as initial case study. Results highlight the likely utility of the tool to identify areas for improvement, and ultimately guide appropriate action towards better service delivery and sustainable management of water resources.


Pressure-State-Response (PSR) model Aggregated indicators Water poverty mapping Sustainable development Developing countries 



Enhanced water poverty index


Human development index


Integrated water resources management


Millennium development goals


Principal component analysis




Water poverty index



The authors would especially like to extend thanks to Ferran Sayeras (UPC) for his dedicated work in data collection and preliminary data analysis. Contributions from many others are also acknowledged, including Eduardo Diaz (INEI, Lima); Lic. Sergio Sánchez (Gobierno Regional, Cajamarca); Karina Fernández, Dr. Rommel A. Cerda and Alex Omar Tucto (DESA, Cajamarca); Ing. Edwin Pajares (CEDEPAS Norte, Cajamarca); Ing. Luis Enrique Yampufé (INRENA, Lima) and Ing. Mario Aguirre (UICN, Quito). Further thanks go to two anonymous referees for useful comments and suggestions.

This research has been funded by the Agència Catalana de Cooperació al Desenvolupament (Generalitat de Catalunya) and the Centre de Cooperació per al Desenvolupament (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya). The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Group on Cooperation and Human Development, Institute of Sustainability (IS.UPC), Departament de Matemàtica Aplicada III, E.T.S. d’Enginyers de Camins, Canals i Ports de BarcelonaUniversitat Politècnica de CatalunyaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Research Group on Cooperation and Human Development, Institute of Sustainability (IS.UPC)Universitat Politècnica de CatalunyaBarcelonaSpain

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