The end of scarcity? Water desalination as the new cornucopia for Mediterranean Spain

David Sauri Pujol, Hug March, Antonio M. Rico-Amorós

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

95 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 Elsevier B.V. In this paper we explore the new orientation taken by Spanish water policy since the beginning of the 21st century and very specifically the shift towards desalination as an alternative to other water supply options such as river regulation or inter-basin water transfers. Desalination has been seen as the cure for everything that dams and inter-basin water transfers were unable to solve, including droughts, scarcities, social conflicts, environmental impacts, and political rivalries among the different Spanish regions. Desalination also means a new and powerful element in water planning and management that could provide water for the continuous expansion of the urban and tourist growth machine in Mediterranean Spain and thus relax possible water constraints on this growth. However, by 2012 most new desalination plants along the Mediterranean coast remained almost idle. Focusing on the case of the Mancomunidad de los Canales del Taibillla in South-eastern Spain, our aim is to develop a critical, integrated and reflexive perspective on the use of desalination as a source of water for urban and regional growth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2642-2651
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Issue number519
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2014


  • AGUA Program
  • Alternative water sources
  • Desalination
  • Drought
  • Mediterranean Spain
  • Urban growth


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