Water Resources Management

, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 1585–1598 | Cite as

Method Development for Including Environmental Water Requirement in the Water Stress Index

  • Pariyapat Nilsalab
  • Shabbir H. Gheewala
  • Stephan Pfister


The overuse of human demand for water threatens the capacity of rivers or watersheds to retain their ecosystem services. Environmental water requirement (EWR) needs to be taken explicitly into account when assessing the impact from freshwater use on freshwater resources. Thus, we propose two perspectives for incorporating EWR into the Demand to availability (DTA) ratio of the water stress index (WSI); including it as a separate demand along with anthropogenic demands (Index 1) or reserving it from the available water (Index 2). It is expected that the more demand increases, the more pressure is put on the lowest priority sector. Index 2, by definition, gives the first priority to EWR whereas this is not so for Index 1. Thus Index 2 provides a more conservative approach in terms of the environmental protection and Index 1 allows a more flexible prioritization approach. Both these indices, however, allow flexibility of changing the EWR based on specific circumstances and context, thus making the evaluation more appropriate for water resource planning at both policy and implementation levels.


Water stress Environmental water requirement Freshwater Screening indicator Decision support 



Financial support by the Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment (JGSEE) and the Thailand Research Fund under the Royal Golden Jubilee Ph.D. program (Grant PHD/0028/2555) is gratefully acknowledged. This research has been carried out under the project “Research Network for LCA and Policy on Food, Fuel and Climate Change” supported by the National Science and Technology Development Agency, Thailand.

Supplementary material

11269_2017_1892_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (346 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 345 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Joint Graduate School of Energy and EnvironmentKing Mongkut’s University of Technology ThonburiBangkokThailand
  2. 2.Center of Excellence on Energy Technology and Environment, PERDOBangkokThailand
  3. 3.Ecological Systems Design, Institute for Environmental EngineeringSwiss Federal Institute of Technology ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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