Groundwater Governance in Spain: Aligning Science with Policy
Marcelino Botin Foundation-Water Observatory
The paper will provide an overview of the main challenges currently experienced in Spain in relation to groundwater governance. In particular, it will focus on the case of agricultural groundwater use in Spain in the context of the new requirements under the Water Framework Directive. The paper will analyze the boom in agricultural groundwater use in Spain, and the main management challenges generated by this intensive groundwater use. It will then offer some priorities in terms of public policy for the most effective use of groundwater as a strategic resource; in particular it will look at the concept of the water footprint, the key role of groundwater user groups as key mediators in management, and the need for increased flexibility in groundwater regulation and allocation mechanisms to correct the current gap between actual groundwater use and formal groundwater allocation. The policy measures discussed will be presented in relation to the general trends in Spain at the national level, and it will also zoom into a series of case studies in Spain. On purpose it will select a range of examples which have very different agricultural patterns, from the south east of Spain characterized by very intensive and highly profitable greenhouse agriculture, to mainland Spain where cereals, olives and vineyards predominate, to the orchards and fruit tree agriculture in the East of Spain. The paper will aim to combine and present data gathered from the new agricultural census in Spain, the new Hydrological plans due to be presented in 2010 within the Water Framework planning schedule, and from field work in the diverse case study areas. The policy implications of these data will be commented on.