Main content area

Harmonious level indexing for ascertaining human–water relationships

Ahmad, Ijaz, Waseem, Muhammad, Lei, Huimin, Yang, Hanbo, Yang, Dawen
Environmental earth sciences 2018 v.77 no.4 pp. 125
cities, decision making, developing countries, entropy, humans, issues and policy, China, Pakistan
Intensive growth of the economy and population strains the relationship between humans and the environment, especially in terms of water, and this strain has been escalated rather than alleviated in most areas of the world. The rapid decline in the quantity and quality of water, specifically in developing countries, has further highlighted the pressing need to observe the relationship between humans and water. Hence, we introduce a novel approach that develops a harmonious level index (HLI) for evaluating human–water (HW) harmony. The HLI is primarily based on measures of similarity (i.e. the entropy weight of an individually selected indicator) and dissimilarity from the potentially most favourable HW relationships. For the application of the HLI approach, 22 basic indicators from three dimensions, i.e. the water system, the human system, and the human–water coordination system, were used to evaluate the human–water harmony status in five different cities, i.e. Karachi, Lahore, and Faisalabad in Pakistan and Nanjing and Zhang-Ye in China. The results indicated that the selected cities are experiencing challenges in human–water harmony, and these challenges vary in degree and dimension. The overall assessment indicated that Zhang-Ye (HLI = 0.71) had the best human–water harmony status, followed by Nanjing (HLI = 0.65), Faisalabad (HLI = 0.41), Lahore (HLI = 0.29), and Karachi (HLI = 0.183). By including all possible indicators, the comparative assessment of the developed HLI method could help decision-makers design strategies and policies that enhance the harmony of human–water relationships.