A multi reference point based index to assess and monitor European water policies from a sustainability approach



Downloads per month over past year

Castro Pardo, Mónica de and Cabello, José Manuel and Martín, José María and Ruiz, Francisco (2022) A multi reference point based index to assess and monitor European water policies from a sustainability approach. Socio-Economic Planning Sciences . p. 101433. ISSN 0038-0121

[thumbnail of 1-s2.0-S0038012122002348-main.pdf]
Creative Commons Attribution.


Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.seps.2022.101433


The scarcity of water resources is a serious problem that concerns governments and international institutions. The importance of water resources and the expectations of billions of people with serious water shortages and subsequent food shortages have made European water policy makers focus all their attention on the sustainability of water as a resource. In this paper we propose a new Water Sustainability Indicator based on a MultiReference methodology (WSI-MR) which permits modeling compensation between the analyzed criteria and provides a participative approach. The WSI-MR provides results based on 19 variables grouped into 5 dimensions: availability, access, resilience, good governance and economic capacity. The indicator was applied to assess water sustainability in 27 European countries. The results showed that Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom obtained the best global results in terms of weak water (compensatory) sustainability. Using a non-compensatory approach, no country gained acceptable results in terms of strong sustainability. Some subdimensions related to climate change and the state of freshwater resources were detected as especially vulnerable in all the analyzed countries. Finally, the study identified some eastern European countries with low GDP and good performance of availability and cost of water, where bad results in terms of governance and water productivity could jeopardize water sustainability in the event of a potential economic development, if these limitations are not addressed. In a context of economic and political instability, due to the current armed conflict in nearby countries such as Ukraine, it is especially important to pay attention to these countries, whose good governance indicators could worsen even more. The proposed indicator is useful to identify warning signs and can contribute to the improvement in decision-making processes and to monitoring international water policies.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:

CRUE-CSIC (Acuerdos Transformativos 2022)

Uncontrolled Keywords:Water sustainability; Flexible compensatory composite indicators; Multi-reference methodology; Europe; Governance; Decision-making policies.
Subjects:Social sciences > Economics > Public economy
Social sciences > Economics > Economic planning
ID Code:75033
Deposited On:17 Oct 2022 10:56
Last Modified:18 Oct 2022 08:53

Origin of downloads

Repository Staff Only: item control page