A comparison of the traditional and simplified methods for water poverty index calculation

15 September 2014

The aim of this research is to quantify the difference in the water poverty index when calculated with the traditional method, compared to the new and simplified water poverty indices. It is calculated and compared for the three towns that together form the Vaal Triangle region in South Africa. A case study is performed with data that was collected at the household level, all of which is at a high assurance level. Although many functions are available for the calculation of composite indices, the study finds that although the simplified index produced the lowest overall values, the final recommendation regarding which town is most in need of an intervention would have been unchanged. It concludes that the scale at which the data is gathered, the chosen components, and the data sources could all influence these results, and that the method comparisons are critical in ensuring the relevance of the chosen method. Future research should focus on refining the available methods, as well as on documenting the best methods for different scenarios.