An academic analysis with recommendations for water management and planning at the basin scale: a review of water planning in the Segura River Basin
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Water resources management is particularly challenging in water-scarce basins, where low water availability is combined with a potential water demand exceeding the supply capacity of the natural system. This is the case of the Segura River Basin in south-eastern Spain. This paper aims at analysing the usefulness of incorporating new hydrological data and perspectives to improve the understanding ... [++]
Water resources management is particularly challenging in water-scarce basins, where low water availability is combined with a potential water demand exceeding the supply capacity of the natural system. This is the case of the Segura River Basin in south-eastern Spain. This paper aims at analysing the usefulness of incorporating new hydrological data and perspectives to improve the understanding of water availability and management and help promote more integrated water planning in the Segura Basin. In this basin, agriculture amounts to approximately 1366 hm3/year and accounts for 80% of the total blue water use. The forest and agriculture use of soil water amounts to 3065 and 1962 hm3/year, respectively. The unaccounted virtual water trade is also relevant and helps in mitigating water scarcity in the basin. The basin is a net virtual water-exporting region, with an average export of 1598 hm3/year, mainly in the form of fruits and vegetables, and imports approximately 1253 hm3/year, mainly related to feed for pig farms. Virtual water imports are four times larger than the disputed water transfer rate to the Segura Basin from other river basins. Water productivity analyses by sub-sectors are useful in understanding the economic rationale of the basin activities. Two types of agriculture coexist in the basin, namely, intensive industrial agriculture and occupational farming, which maintain the territory and landscape. From a Mediterranean country perspective, the analysis recommends considering climate fluctuations and temporal variability and trends of water availability and use, moving beyond the average values considered in river basin management plans. Groundwater reserve depletion continues to occur at a rate of 231 hm3/year, as water from wells is currently cheaper than using desalinated water in farms, and it does not cause boron-related water quality problems for irrigation. If socially costly administrative measures are not taken, groundwater reserve depletion will continue. [--]
Science of The Total Environment, Volume 662, 20 April 2019, Pages 755-768
Universidad Pública de Navarra / Nafarroako Unibertsitate Publikoa. ISFOOD - Institute for Innovation and Sustainable Development in Food Chain
The project 'Análisis académico del Plan Hidrológico de la demarcación hidrográfica del Segura 2015-2021 a la luz de modernos conceptos de la ciencia de los recursos del agua' (Academic analysis of the Segura Water District Water Plan from the point of view of water resources modern concepts) provided the ideas and data for this work. This project has been carried out by the Royal Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences of Spain with the support of the Segura Water Authority , the Botin Foundation , Obra Social La Caixa and Caja Navarra Foundation . Many experts have contributed to its development, and all of them are credited in Aldaya et al. (2017) .
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