In the wake of a growing concern about both the unchecked rise of poverty and the local and global consequences of water scarcity, the relationships between water and poverty are the object of a sprawling literature. Indicators are presented as indispensable tools for informing and orienting policy-making, comparing situations and measuring performance. This paper first reviews different conceptions of water scarcity and shows the variety of associated causes. A brief look at the virtues and shortcomings of some of the indicators used in the development sector then serves to introduce a review of the major water-scarcity/poverty indicators found in the literature. The reasons for their popularity and vitality are critically examined, and the links between indicators and policy-making are discussed.

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