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Title:The analysis of water availability indicators and access to available water in the developing, semi-arid, rural setting
Author(s):Richardson, Mary Jane
Advisor(s):Wander, Michelle M.
Contributor(s):Birkenholtz, Trevor; Hodson, Piper
Department / Program:Natural Res & Env Sci
Discipline:Natural Res & Env Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:In 2015, 663 million people did not have access to improved drinking water; the majority lived in the rural, water scarce regions of lesser developed nations. Global discussions of water scarcity had begun in the mid-1970’s, and over the following 30 years, several water availability indicators evolved to try to understand this water availability quandary. This thesis provides an integrative literature review to identify and describe the current water availability indicators that are most commonly used to assess regional potable water resources around the world. It then assesses the adequacy of those indicators for use in the developing, semi-arid, rural regions of the globe with a focus on measuring community access to available water. One key finding is that existing indicators metrics focus solely on the physical availability of the water, but do not include metrics for quantity or quality or readily available access to it. This thesis also finds that while the base data collected for the indicators are at the spatial scale of country or region; these data are often arbitrarily applied to the local scale. This scalar variation is then found to create erroneous availability statistics. The resulting conclusion is that there is a need for an indicator, which more accurately represents access to water at the local level. Also discussed are the socio-economic issues of access that are missing from current indicators. For water access indicators to work at the local level, they must use data beyond water quantity and quality measured at the national or regional scale. Water access indicators need to be: easy to calculate, cost effective to implement, scalable to the micro-level, based on existing data, developed using a transparent process and, not least, must be easy to understand by all the stakeholders. Ideal indicators will use data and new technologies that include scalable tools that allow selection and use of appropriate water purification tactics.
Issue Date:2017-07-21
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Mary Richardson
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-09-29
Date Deposited:2017-08

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