Decision-makers increasingly recognize the importance of water security as it relates to water supply management. However, studies of water security’s converse, water insecurity, at the household level remain almost entirely consigned to the fields of anthropology and social work. Within the context of quantitative predictive models for water demand, the influence of water insecurity has not been examined, even in regions throughout the developing world where unreliable and inadequate water provision is common.
This paper uses a subjective indicator model to quantify and evaluate domestic water insecurity. Household interviews were conducted in the Palestinian West Bank to examine the relationship between price elasticity, water insecurity and domestic water demand. Water insecurity weights were defined and quantified for each household for use in a multivariate regression model.
Households in the Palestinian West Bank experience water scarcity conditions that are both natural and man-made. The model showed that water insecurity plays an important role in predicting the domestic water demand. Specifically, it showed that
- a water insecurity variable improves the ability to estimate price elasticity, and
- that increased water insecurity leads to higher levels of household water demand.
The findings suggest that policy-makers can influence domestic water demand by addressing the supply constraints that underlie domestic water insecurity.
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