An assessment of Spain's Programa AGUA and its implications for sustainable water management in the province of Almeria, southeast Spain

Downward, Stuart R. and Taylor, Ros (2007) An assessment of Spain's Programa AGUA and its implications for sustainable water management in the province of Almeria, southeast Spain. Journal of Environmental Management, 82(2), pp. 277-289. ISSN (print) 0301-4797

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Abstract

Spain's Programa AGUA was proposed in 2004 as a replacement for the Spanish National Hydrological Plan and represented a fundamental policy shift in national water management from large inter-basin water transfers to a commitment to desalination. Twenty-one desalination facilities are planned for six provinces on the Spanish Mediterranean coast to supplement their water needs. These include the province of Almería that for the last 30 years has endured a net water abstraction overdraft leading to serious reservoir depletion and groundwater imbalances. Rising water use is a result of increasing demand to support irrigated agriculture (e.g. greenhouse horticulture) and for domestic needs (e.g. rapid urban growth and tourism development), which has led observers to question Almería's long-term water sustainability. Desalinated water alone is unlikely to be sufficient to make up these water deficits and water-users will have to accept a move to full-price water recovery by 2010 under the European Union (EU) Water Framework Directive of which Spain is a signatory. Anticipated water efficiencies resulting from higher water tariffs, increasing water reuse and water infrastructure improvements (including inter-basin transfers), in conjunction with increasing use of desalinated water, are expected to address the province's current water overdraft. However, Almería will need to balance its planned initiatives against long-term estimates of projected agricultural and domestic development and the environmental consequences of adopting a desalination-supported water future.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Programa AGUA, Almeria, sustainable water management, desalination, sustainability, national hydrological plan, se Spain, Ebro river, desalination, conservation, greenhouses, vegetation, systems, runoff, dalias
Research Area: Geography and environmental studies
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Science (until 2011) > School of Geography, Geology and Environment
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Sara Burnett
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2008
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2010 09:49
URI: http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/id/eprint/417

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