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In this paper, principal components methodology is used to derive simplified and cost effective indexes of water poverty. Using a well known data set for 147 countries from which an earlier five-component water poverty index comprising of Resources, Access, Capacity, Use and Environment was constructed, we find that a simplified three-component composite index comprising of Access, Capacity, and Environment, with unequal weights, or its two-component counterpart comprising of Capacity and Environment with equal weights, would be more cost-effective to construct without much loss of information. These simplified indexes have high positive and negative correlations with the Human Development Index and the Human Poverty Index, respectively.

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The authors wish to thank Joseph Kushner, Caroline Sullivan, Richard Watuwa and anonymous referees for their constructive suggestions. However, the usual disclaimer applies.

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Correspondence to Danny I. Cho.

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Cho, D.I., Ogwang, T. & Opio, C. Simplifying the Water Poverty Index. Soc Indic Res 97, 257–267 (2010).

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