Essential components of institutional and social indicators in assessing the sustainability and resilience of urban water systems: Challenges and opportunities

Leah Mc Millan Polonenko, Mohamed A. Hamouda, Mohamed M. Mohamed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There has been increasing focus on the resilience and sustainability of Urban Water Systems (UWS) due to the increase in urban population and rise of imminent threats (e.g. floods). This focus has brought about numerous studies attempting to develop a framework of assessment of UWS that can be benchmarked and adopted by different jurisdictions. The use of composite indicators has been the most common approach in many of the studies appearing in the past two decades. While there seems to be a consensus on the relevant technical and economic indicators in assessing UWS, the situation is different when it comes to social and institutional indicators. In this paper, a discussion of the most common institutional and social indicators used in conducting a sustainability or resilience assessment of UWS is presented. A framework of criteria which describes four key ways for ensuring that indicators are appropriate for use in UWS is proposed. The framework is described as a tool to mitigate common challenges in the development and evaluation of institutional and social indicators. While social and institutional indicators have been used in a variety of studies, the framework offers a way to better ensure that regardless of the chosen indicators, they are developed and used in a way that is consistent with the merits of social research, notably reliability and validity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number135159
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume708
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2020

Keywords

  • Framework
  • Institutional indicators
  • Resilience
  • Social indicators
  • Sustainability
  • Urban water systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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