A New Approach to Calculate theWater Exploitation Index (WEI+)

Stefano Casadei 1,* , Francesco Peppoloni 2 and Arnaldo Pierleoni 2
1 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Perugia, 06123 Perugia, Italy
2 Engineering Department, Niccolò Cusano University, 00166 Roma, Italy; francesco.peppoloni@unipg.it (F.P.);
arnaldo.pierleoni@unicusano.it (A.P.)
* Correspondence: stefano.casadei@unipg.it
Received: 22 September 2020; Accepted: 16 November 2020; Published: 18 November 2020 

TheWater Exploitation Index (WEI), or withdrawal ratio, is an indicator of water scarcity,
which has been updated into its WEI+ form by the Committee of Experts of the European Commission.
In calculating the total abstraction of fresh water, this indicator also includes the possible return flow
and management rules. The demand for freshwater and long-term freshwater resources are both
necessary to calculate the WEI+. These values are not easy to assess at basin or sub-basin level and,
for this reason, WEI values are generally calculated at the country level. This paper introduces a new
approach to calculate the WEI+, with the purpose of extending its use to basin and sub-basin levels.
The methodology is based on flow duration curve estimation, which evaluates freshwater resources,
and aWeb-GIS system that evaluates water abstractions distribution. This approach allows for the
assessment of locally stressed areas in the hydrographic network and could provide a fundamental
step toward more comprehensive regional water resources management plans. The new methodology
is tested in some sub-basins of the Upper Tiber River Basin (Italy). These results contribute to the
analysis of water withdrawals sustainability, based on the policy of the European Environment
Agency, which is aimed toward the development of a proactive approach for reducing water stress.

Keywords:water scarcityindices; flowdurationcurve;waterabstractions;Web-GIS; regionalizationtechnique

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