Water Sharing: A Global Response to Water Insecurity

Authors: Amber Wutich*, Arizona State University, Asher Rosinger, Pennsylvania State University, Alexandra Brewis, Arizona State University, HWISE Consortium ., NSF Household Water Insecurity (HWISE) Research Coordination Network (RCN)
Topics: Water Resources and Hydrology, Cultural and Political Ecology
Keywords: water insecurity
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Balcony A, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Water sharing between households could crucially mitigate short-term household water shortages and affirm a human right to water, yet it is a vastly understudied phenomenon. Here we use comparative survey data from 24 global sites to understand the extent and predictors of household water sharing. Our analysis reveals that household water sharing was present in all sites we examined across world regions, with between 11-85 percent of households reporting borrowing water in the last month across the sites. We find that household water shortages, perceived exposure to unsafe drinking water, low social standing, and seasonality are all associated with borrowing water at the household level. These findings identify water sharing—or water loans, exchanges and transfers between households—to be a basic and consistent household coping strategy against water insecurity across the globe.

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