Water Observatory

Madrid, Spain

Water Observatory

Madrid, Spain
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De Stefano L.,Complutense University of Madrid | De Stefano L.,Water Observatory | Petersen-Perlman J.D.,Oregon State University | Sproles E.A.,Oregon State University | And 2 more authors.
Global Environmental Change | Year: 2017

This paper presents a systematic, global assessment of transboundary watersheds that identifies regions more likely to experience hydro-political tensions over the next decade and beyond based upon environmental, political, and economic indicators. The development of new water infrastructure in transboundary basins can strain relationships among fellow riparians as the impacts of new dams and diversions are felt across borders. Formal arrangements governing transboundary river basins, such as international water treaties and river basin organizations, provide a framework for dialogue and negotiation, thus contributing to assuaging potential disputes. Our study examines these two issues in tandem − the stresses inherent in development and the mitigating impact of institutions − and maps the risk of potential hydro-political tensions that exist where basins may be ill-equipped to deal with transboundary disputes triggered by the construction of new dams and diversions. We also consider several factors that could exacerbate those hydropolitical tensions in the near future, including changes in terrestrial water storage, projected changes in water variability, per capita gross national income, domestic and international armed conflicts, and recent history of disputes over transboundary waters. The study points to the vulnerability of several basins in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central America, the northern part of the South American continent, the southern Balkans as well as in different parts of Africa, where new water infrastructure is being built or planned, but formal transboundary arrangements are absent. Moreover, in some of these regions there is a concomitance of several political, environmental and socioeconomic factors that could exacerbate hydropolitical tensions. This study contributes to the understanding of how the recent proliferation of development accompanied with unfavourable socio-economic and environmental indicators may influence global hydropolitical resilience. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd

De Stefano L.,Complutense University of Madrid | De Stefano L.,Water Observatory | Fornes J.M.,Geological Survey of Spain | Lopez-Geta J.A.,Geological Survey of Spain | And 2 more authors.
International Journal of Water Resources Development | Year: 2014

In semi-arid regions, aquifers provide a series of practical advantages that make them preferential sources of water supply. In Spain, groundwater meets about one-fifth of the total water demand and is used to irrigate over one-third of the total irrigated land. This article examines groundwater use in Spain from the perspective of the EU Water Framework Directive. Analysis of different sector uses suggests that core problems (and solutions) related to groundwater lie in agricultural uses and that the Directive's environmental requirements remain distant from reality on the ground, where economic, political and social reasons prevail on legal obligations set by national and supranational authorities. © 2014 © 2014 Taylor & Francis.

Rica M.,Complutense University of Madrid | Lopez-Gunn E.,Water Observatory | Llamas R.,Water Observatory
Irrigation and Drainage | Year: 2012

This paper analyses the emergence and evolution of collective action in relation to intensive groundwater user by looking at the case of groundwater user associations in Spain. The paper analyses the rules in norm or constitutional level and the typology of collective organizations, to then offer an empirical analysis of the main factors in the emergence and evolution of collective action in Spanish groundwater user associations. It identifies some key endogenous and exogenous factors that either facilitate or hinder collective action by groundwater users, as well as documenting their evolution through time towards a more diverse institutional range, partly explained by reaching increasing resource limits, which triggers looking for additional resources to minimize and manage risk and uncertainty. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Rica M.,Water Observatory | Rica M.,Complutense University of Madrid | Dumont A.,Water Observatory | Dumont A.,Complutense University of Madrid | And 4 more authors.
Water International | Year: 2014

This article examines different forms and levels of collective action by aquifer users in securing access to over-allocated groundwater resources using a case study of La Loma, Úbeda (Jaén, Spain), one of the largest olive-growing areas in the world. It shows how opportunities for collective water management increase at the basin level as bargaining spaces increase but also how political rent influences the institutional designs that emerge. The article identifies an opportunity to redesign the organizational and institutional configurations by both securing access to water and strengthening collaborative spaces at the basin level. © 2014 © 2014 International Water Resources Association.

Flachsbarth I.,Technical University of Madrid | Flachsbarth I.,Water Observatory | Willaarts B.,Technical University of Madrid | Willaarts B.,Water Observatory | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

One of humanity's major challenges of the 21st century will be meeting future food demands on an increasingly resource constrained-planet. Global food production will have to rise by 70 percent between 2000 and 2050 to meet effective demand which poses major challenges to food production systems. Doing so without compromising environmental integrity is an even greater challenge. This study looks at the interdependencies between land and water resources, agricultural production and environmental outcomes in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), an area of growing importance in international agricultural markets. Special emphasis is given to the role of LAC's agriculture for (a) global food security and (b) environmental sustainability. We use the International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT) -a global dynamic partial equilibrium model of the agricultural sector -to run different future production scenarios, and agricultural trade regimes out to 2050, and assess changes in related environmental indicators. Results indicate that further trade liberalization is crucial for improving food security globally, but that it would also lead to more environmental pressures in some regions across Latin America. Contrasting land expansion versus more intensified agriculture shows that productivity improvements are generally superior to agricultural land expansion, from an economic and environmental point of view. Finally, our analysis shows that there are trade-offs between environmental and food security goals for all agricultural development paths. © 2015 Flachsbarth et al.

Hardy L.,Technical University of Madrid | Hardy L.,Water Observatory | Garrido A.,Technical University of Madrid | Garrido A.,Water Observatory | Juana L.,Technical University of Madrid
International Journal of Water Resources Development | Year: 2012

This paper explores the water-energy nexus of Spain and offers calculations for both the energy used in the water sector and the water required to run the energy sector. The article takes a prospective approach, offering evaluations of policy objectives for biofuels and expected renewable energy sources. Approximately 5.8% of total electricity demand in Spain is due to the water sector. Irrigated agriculture is one of the Spanish water sectors that show the largest growth in energy requirements. Searches for more efficient modes of farm water use, urban waste water treatment, and the use of desalinated water must henceforth include the energy component. Furthermore, biofuel production, to the levels targeted for 2020, would have an unbearable impact on the already stressed water resources in Spain. However, growing usage of renewable energy sources is not threatened by water scarcity, but legislative measures in water allocation and water markets will be required to meet the requirements of using these sources. Some of these measures, which are pushed by regional governments, are discussed in concluding sections. © 2012 Taylor & Francis.

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