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Global indicators: Linking water to human health and poverty - AWRF

Global indicators: Linking water to human health and poverty - AWRF

Bronwyn Powell, IWC

Client:
AusAID

Water is a fundamental environmental, economic and social need. The water wealth index provides a scientifically-based, defendable process of aid prioritisation as decision support for allocation of water-related aid.

Project Category: Applied Research

Key Areas of Work: Environmental quality,Water quality

Project Date: Apr 08, 2007

IWC partners Griffith University and The University of Western Australia and international collaborators used existing databases to develop indicators, which include environmental outcomes, human health and economic benefits.

This project developed the first worldwide synthesis to jointly consider human and biodiversity perspectives on water security using a spatial framework that quantifies multiple stressors and accounts for downstream impacts. 

The water wealth index provides a scientifically based, defendable process of aid prioritisation as decision support for allocation of water-related aid.

The index has five major components:

  1. agricultural productivity
  2. institutional capacity
  3. food security
  4. environment 
  5. human health

Each component containing quantitative data on issues such as infant mortality, safe drinking water, threatened species and nutrient enrichment.

Impacts

The project offers a tool for prioritising policy and management responses to the crisis facing freshwater resources. It underscores the necessity of limiting threats at their source, instead of through costly remediation of symptoms, in order to assure global water security for both humans and freshwater biodiversity.


Indicative publications

Bunn, S. E., (2009), ‘Global indicators of river health: mapping threats to humans and nature’, paper presented at the Launch of the International WaterCentre Knowledge Hub for Healthy Rivers and Aquatic Ecosystems.

Chan, T., Ross, H., Hoverman, S., and Powell, B., (2010), ‘Participatory development of a Bayesian network model for catchment-based water resource management’, Water Resources Research, 46/7.

Vörösmarty, C. J., McIntyre, P. B., Gessner, M. O., Dudgeon, D., Prusevich, A., Green, P., Glidden, S., Bunn, S. E., Sullivan, C. A., Reidy Liermann, C., Davies, P. M., (2010), ‘Global threats to human water security and river biodiversity’, Nature 467, pp 555–561.


Key partners

  • The University of Queensland
  • Griffith University
  • Monash University
  • The University of Western Australia
  • SOPAC (Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of Secretariat of The Pacific Community)

 

Read more about the Australian Water Research Facility (AWRF)

 

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