A pinboard by
Sadhana Shrestha

Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Yamanashi


Preparation of novel water security index suitable for urban areas of developing countries

Tools to measure water security that focused on household/micro level have been designed only recently. Such tools are ethnographically grounded water insecurity scales (WIS) that are experience based and are a subjective assessment as they measure the experience of difficulties/inconvenience faced due to water scarcity. This study assumed another dimension of household water security that is a physical dimension and prepared objective index of water security (OI) that is based on concept of household water use behaviour. OI is an objective assessment and is based on quantifiable indicators. Different water related and socio-economic factors shape the water use behaviour. These factors are considered as the dimensions of OI; ‘piped water supply’; ‘alternative water sources’; ‘access to drinking water’; ‘consumption’; ‘affordability’; ‘adaptation’; and ‘social capital’. Household survey data was collected from the Kathmandu Valley, the capital city of developing country Nepal, which faced severe water shortage for a long time. A cross-sectional survey with multi-stage cluster design was conducted during December 2015 to February 2016 in 1500 households. A structured questionnaire probed information on socio-demographic and economic characteristics, water sources, frequency and volume of water use, cost related to water, community group involvement. WIS, previously constructed and validated for the study area, was used to perform the subjective assessment. Each key dimension of OI has one or more components and each component contributed equally to the dimension. The components were standardized at first and then key dimensions (given equal weight) were aggregated to create a composite OI. OI was capable to measure differential vulnerabilities within small cities and also could identify area specific key dimensions, which needed improvement for water security. The negative correlation of OI with WIS supported its applicability. Nevertheless, there is room for further strengthening the method of OI preparation with statistical backing.