Assessing Water Security Through a Set of Consistent Metrics and Application to Water Funds in Latin America
Received Date: July 28, 2022; Published Date: August 10, 2022
This paper provides an overview of existing methodological approaches to assess water security in Latin America through a set of quantifiable metrics. A framework to develop these water security metrics is proposed based on a literature review of existing approaches and sources of data that can be mined to quantify these metrics. As a case study application, the proposed water security metrics framework is applied to a group of sites within the Latin America Water Funds Partnership to understand its applicability, challenges in implementation, help identify information gaps, and provide an initial assessment of water security in the region. One important aspect that this metrics framework intends to capture is the multisectoral nature of water security. The five metrics proposed in this work cover water scarcity (balance between physical supply and total demand), household water security (domestic demand met), economic water security (sectoral demand met), environmental water security (water quality) and water security toward disaster risk reduction. Other challenges to water security in the region that are long-standing can be incorporated into this framework in future iterations. Such metrics could include the provision of infrastructure and sanitation services, institutional/governance capacity, ecosystem services, among others. Given the complex interaction between water-using sectors, it is imperative to move from traditional sectoral management approaches, in which decision-making and investment planning are carried out as if the sectors (water and sanitation, agriculture, energy, others) independent of each other, and transition to an integrated approach to planning the development of water resources and their use. Apart from promoting economic and resource efficiency, this integrated planning framework is important to avoid unintended consequences and potential water security conflicts in the coming decades in the Latin America region. This initial water security metrics framework represents an important practical development in this direction.