"The case studies indicate that although there is no universal metric that definitely captures every type of water crises, different regions of the world show a limited suite of distinct resource utilization patterns by urban, agricultural, and ecosystem uses. This suite comprises six syndromes: Groundwater Depletion, Ecological Destruction, Drought-Driven Conflicts, Unmet Subsistence Needs, Resource Capture by Elite, and Water Reallocation to Nature. Each of these categories was associated with a set of causal factors that could be broadly classified into demand and supply changes, governance systems, and infrastructure. Our study suggests that each syndrome is generated by a limited set of causal pathways."
Srinivasan, V., E. F. Lambin, S. M. Gorelick, B. H. Thompson, and S. Rozelle (2012), The nature and causes of the global water crisis: Syndromes from a meta-analysis of coupled human-water studies, Water Resour. Res., 48, W10516, doi:10.1029/2011WR011087.