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Socio-Spatial Analysis of Water Affordability at Small Scales: A Needs-Based Approach

Title of the magazine or publication: 
Water

Volume: 
16

Issue number: 
11

Authors:

  • Gustavo Romero-Gómez ( Geography Department, Campus UAB, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Plaça del Coneixement, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain)
  • Elena Domene Gómez (Institut Metròpoli)
  • Xavier Garcia ( Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA-CERCA), Edifici H2O, Girona University, C/Emili Grahit, 101, 17003 Girona, Spain)
  • Hyerim Yoon ( Geography Department, Campus Barri Vell, Girona University, Edif. St. Domènec ll, Plaça Ferrater i Mora, 1, 17004 Girona, Spain)
  • David Saurí ( Geography Department, Campus UAB, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Plaça del Coneixement, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain)

Publication date:
2024

Resume:

Water affordability as a dimension of water poverty is becoming an increasing source of concern in cities of the Global North. Studies on water affordability are either based on water wants and not needs or tend to use spatial scales too large for effective analyses of local inequities that can truly guide policy actions. In this contribution, we calculate and map a Water Affordability Index (WAI) based on the minimum water requirement of 100 litres/person/day at the scale of the census tract for the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona. We also apply global and local spatial autocorrelation analyses to investigate spatial relationships between the WAI and poverty-related sociodemographic variables. Results show that, even though average WAI values are moderate, the distribution pattern of higher and lower values tends to be clustered in some districts and neighbourhoods of the study area. Bivariate correlations indicate that water affordability is not only related to poverty variables but also to the diversity of water prices. Findings exemplify how the constructed index can complement existing affordability indicators, revealing and mapping important risk groups struggling to meet the costs of essential water needs. Water affordability could be mitigated by supportive water pricing policies for vulnerable households in water poverty hotspots.

Academic article link:
https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/16/11/1496