Analysing inter-relationships among water, governance, human development variables in developing countries

October 31, 2012 · 1 comment

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 3791–3816, 2012

Analysing inter-relationships among water, governance, human development variables in developing countries

C. Dondeynaz, et al.

The “Integrated Water Resources Management” principle was formally laid down at the International Conference on Water and Sustainable development in Dublin 1992. One of the main results of this conference is that improving Water and Sanitation Services (WSS), being a complex and interdisciplinary issue, passes through collaboration and coordination of different sectors (environment, health, economic activities, governance, and international cooperation). These sectors influence or are influenced by the access to WSS. The understanding of these interrelations appears as crucial for decision makers in the water sector. In this framework, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission (EC) has developed a new database (WatSan4Dev database) containing 42 indicators (called variables in this paper) from environmental, socio-economic, governance and financial aid flows data in developing countries.

This paper describes the development of the WatSan4Dev dataset, the statistical processes needed to improve the data quality, and finally, the analysis to verify the database coherence is presented. Based on 25 relevant variables, the relationships between variables are described and organised into five factors (HDP – Human Development against Poverty, AP – Human Activity Pressure on water resources, WR – Water Resources, ODA – Official Development Aid, CEC – Country Environmental Concern). Linear regression methods are used to identify key variables having influence on water supply and sanitation. First analysis indicates that the informal urbanisation development is an important factor negatively influencing the percentage of the population having access to WSS. Health, and in particular children’s health, benefits from the improvement of WSS.

Irrigation is also enhancing Water Supply service thanks to multi-purpose infrastructure. Five country profiles are also created to deeper understand and synthetize the amount of information gathered. This new classification of countries is useful in identifying countries with a less advanced position and weaknesses to be tackled. The relevance of indicators gathered to represent environmental and water resources state is questioned in the discussion section. The paper concludes with the necessity to increase the reliability of current indicators and calls for further research on specific indicators, in particular on water quality at national scale, in order to better include environmental state in analysis to WSS.

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