Water use in arid rural systems and the integration of water and agricultural policies in Europe: The case of Andarax river basin

Violeta Cabello Villarejo, Cristina Madrid Lopez

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Water is a precious resource in arid rural areas with irrigated agriculture. Nonetheless, water and agricultural policies in Europe show different management scopes and objectives, usually translated in divergent drivers of rural change. This paper has a double aim: to propose a specific method for quantitative biophysical analysis of water use in rural systems with the multi-scale integrated analysis of societal and ecosystem metabolism approach and to show the usefulness of this method for the assessment of the integration of water and agricultural policies. The river basin scale is chosen, since it is the socioecological unit for water management established in the water framework directive 2000/60/CE. A multi-scale water use accounting is provided for a Mediterranean river basin in Andalusia, integrating water cycle, ecosystems and social levels. Particularly focusing on agricultural production, a relevant set of indicators is proposed in order to analyze and compare different metabolic patterns. Finally, the integration of water and agricultural planning is assessed in terms of external (biophysical) and internal (economic, institutional) constraints of the new water-use patterns generated by the scenarios posed in these policies. While on a European level water policy is ambitious in terms of ecological conservation, the lack of integration within the common agricultural policy and the entanglement of multiple scales of political and economic organization of local ruralities blur its priority in a rather slow transition to a new water culture. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)957-975
    JournalEnvironment, Development and Sustainability
    Volume16
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

    Keywords

    • Almeria
    • Policy integration
    • River basin management
    • Societal metabolism of water
    • Water framework directive
    • Water-use sustainability

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