`As Reservoirs Dry Up, Spain Establishes Water Policy Board - Olive Oil Times

As Reservoirs Dry Up, Spain Establishes Water Policy Board

By Paolo DeAndreis
Oct. 24, 2022 14:17 UTC

In a bid to improve Spain’s resilience to the effects of cli­mate change and develop pro­ce­dures to opti­mize the use of water for irri­ga­tion, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishery and Food announced the estab­lish­ment of a new board and sus­tain­able irri­ga­tion obser­va­tory.

The deci­sion comes on the heels of European Union ini­tia­tives to improve gov­er­nance and poli­cies of a crit­i­cal water man­age­ment area in Spain. The ini­tia­tive is part of the country’s broader Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, devel­oped under the umbrella of the E.U.’s NextGenerationEU strat­egy.

The new board will include pub­lic admin­is­tra­tions cen­tered on agri­cul­ture, irri­ga­tion com­pa­nies, pro­duc­tion chain actors, farm­ing orga­ni­za­tions, researchers, envi­ron­men­tal asso­ci­a­tions and other stake­hold­ers. In addi­tion, the pub­lic admin­is­tra­tions respon­si­ble for water man­age­ment and envi­ron­men­tal assess­ment will also be involved.

See Also:Drought on Iberian Peninsula Expected to Persist Through November

The board’s pri­mary goals include facil­i­tat­ing coop­er­a­tion, dis­cus­sion and infor­ma­tion exchange between the pub­lic admin­is­tra­tions and the other par­ties involved. According to the min­istry, these activ­i­ties will facil­i­tate gov­er­nance and the deploy­ment of an effi­cient irri­ga­tion pol­icy.

The board will help coor­di­nate the irri­ga­tion and water man­age­ment pol­icy. It will also pro­pose and pro­mote mea­sures for the pre­ven­tion or con­trol of the envi­ron­men­tal impacts derived from irri­ga­tion, as well as the design of good prac­tices in farms for the same pur­pose,” the min­istry said.

Among its top pri­or­i­ties are the envi­ron­men­tal and sus­tain­abil­ity issues related to irri­ga­tion.

The min­istry said the board would act as a forum for com­mu­ni­ca­tion, analy­sis and debate on aspects related to the eco­nomic, social and envi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity of irri­ga­tion in Spain; make pro­pos­als to increase energy effi­ciency, save water and dig­i­tal­ize farms and report on invest­ment plans and reg­u­la­tions.”

The new board will be sup­ported by the sus­tain­able irri­ga­tion obser­va­tory, which is in charge of gath­er­ing and pro­vid­ing rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion to pub­lic admin­is­tra­tions and other stake­hold­ers.

Its work will focus on the lead­ing eco­nomic, social and envi­ron­men­tal indi­ca­tors to con­tribute to the sec­tor’s trans­parency. To that end, the obser­va­tory will also have a web­site man­aged by the min­istry.

The urgency of a com­pre­hen­sive irri­ga­tion strat­egy has been cited for years as the coun­try works to coun­ter­act the grow­ing threat of deser­ti­fi­ca­tion and the dra­matic effects of Spain’s worst drought in more than 1,000 years.

According to the lat­est data pub­lished by the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, the lev­els of the national reser­voirs con­tinue to shrink. They have now fallen nearly 32 per­cent of their total capac­ity.

The reser­voirs of the Guadalquivir basin in Andalusia the world’s most pro­duc­tive olive oil-pro­duc­ing region, are now at 19 per­cent of their capac­ity. The basin of the 657-kilo­me­ter river is cru­cial for the wider Andalusian Mediterranean basin, which is at 37 per­cent capac­ity.

As local media reports, the capac­i­ties of the cen­tral Guadiana and Southern Guadalete-Barbate basins also have dropped sig­nif­i­cantly, each falling to about 23 per­cent.

Currently, the coun­try’s reser­voirs store 17.7 bil­lion cubic meters, down from the 22.3 bil­lion cubic meters recorded last year and well below the 10-year aver­age of 27.8 bil­lion cubic meters.


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