Memorias de investigación
Communications at congresses:
Ponencia: "Cost-effectiveness of water policy options for sustainable groundwater management: a case study in Spain"

Research Areas
  • Applied economics

Lately, a great increase has been produced in the use of the groundwater in arid and semi-arid countries and regions worldwide, such as the Mediterranean region. In Spain, the severe groundwater¿s pumping for irrigated lands has helped to the social and economical development in many rural regions. However, in many cases, the absence of an effective control has imposed stresses on groundwater systems, and it has produced far-reaching environmental and social problems. The Western La Mancha Aquifer in the Spanish southern central plateau is a remarkable example. The excessive, and sometimes illegal, water abstraction for irrigation agriculture has induced the Aquifer¿s overexploitation and has been responsible of the degradation of the associated wetlands of the national park ¿Tablas de Daimiel¿, an internationally reputed, Ramsar-nominated aquatic ecosystem of high ecological value. The objective of this paper is to propose and analyze alternative water conservation policies that will attain a reduction in water consumption, compatible with the natural recharge rate of the Western La Mancha aquifer. To undertake this analysis, a mathematical programming model has been developed to simulate farmers¿ behaviour and their responses to different water policy scenarios. Specifically, the policy simulations selected are: alternative water pricing schemes (uniform volumetric and block-rate water tariffs), water use quota systems and water rights market. Results show that controlling illegal water mining is a necessary condition but it is not sufficient to recover the aquifer. Consequently, other measures will be necessary for an effective water management in this area. Among these, the block-rate water pricing scheme seems the most cost-effective system to reach the goal of aquifer sustainability but will entail important income losses in several farms. Therefore, we cannot conclude that a unique water conservation policy instrument will be the best overall solution for all types of holdings and farmers that will respond to efficiency as well as to equity considerations. It seems reasonable to make a combination of the tools proposed, even including additional measures that promote an effective environmental protection and develop sustainable agricultural systems. Key words: over-drafted aquifer, wetland degradation, mathematical programming model, water policies, cost-effective analysis, Spain.
International Conference on Adaptive & Integrated Water Management (CAIWA) ¿ Coping with complexity and uncertainty
Basilea, Suiza
Start Date
End Date
From page
To page

Research Group, Departaments and Institutes related
  • Creador: Grupo de Investigación: Economía Agraria y Gestión de los Recursos Naturales
  • Departamento: Economía y Ciencias Sociales Agrarias