Combining the measurement of urban and rural areas to link water and poverty provides a new insight into the fields of water resources management and poverty alleviation. Owing to rapid urban development, water resource conflicts between urban and rural areas are gettingbecoming more intensified and more complex. This study details the application of a water poverty index (WPI) using 26 indicators to evaluate urban and rural water poverty in northwest China during the period 2000–2017. This study also analyzes temporal variations of urban and rural water poverty by the kernel density estimation (KDE). We found that the level of water poverty is gradually declining over time and the improvements in urban and rural areas are not harmonious. Additionally, it applies the synergic theory to analyze the relationships between urban and rural water poverty. The correspondence analysis between urban and rural water poverty is significant because of the synergic level results. The results show that there are four primary types in northwest China: synchronous areas, urban-priority areas, rural-priority areas, and conflict areas, and their evolution stages. The results suggest the need for location-specific policy interventions. Furthermore, we put forward corresponding countermeasures. The research findings also provide a theoretical foundation for the evaluation of urban and rural water poverty, and a regional strategy to relieve conflict between urban and rural water poverty.
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