To collect information on the magnitude of water poverty in Spain, mainly in the large urban agglomerations of the country, and to develop a methodological proposal to systematically analyze the impacts and compensatory measures of this phenomenon.
During the first half of 2019, WAPONET members have advanced in the collection of information on the state of water poverty in Spain, preparing a pilot study in the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (MAB).
This pilot study has been concretized in an academic work under the title “Quantifying Water Poverty: A case study of Barcelona and Catalonia”. The work represents a first attempt to quantify the water poverty in the 23 municipalities of the MAB, whose water and sanitation services are provided by the mixed capital company “Aigües de Barcelona”.
As a first approximation for measuring water poverty, the income criterion, and particularly the 3% threshold, was used to detect households suffering from this phenomenon. However, the inability to quickly obtain data on vulnerable MAB households at the level of each municipality resulted in the failure to detect these households, which significantly reduces the interest in the current results. Nevertheless, it has been possible to access other types of information at the municipal level on various types of subsidies received by vulnerable households (e.g. social tariff or “Solidarity Fund”) or delays in paying bills. Together, this first approach, still partial, confirms that the scope of water poverty in the MAB is significant (almost 9% of households in 2016) and that the number of households that benefit from a social tariff or the “Solidarity Fund” has increased between 2014 and 2018, especially in Barcelona, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat and other major metropolitan municipalities.
Current efforts fall on the assessment of the National Institute of Statistics (INE, by its acronym in Spanish) microdata base in order to work on the scale of vulnerable households. The aim is to perform a statistical analysis of relationships between vulnerable households and support measures.