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Management evaluation of Water Users Associations using benchmarking techniques


  • Córcoles, J.I.
  • de Juan, J.A.
  • Ortega, J.F.
  • Tarjuelo, J.M.
  • Moreno, M.A.


The development of different tools to evaluate the performance of Water Users Associations (WUAs) is an important practice for improving water and energy management, together with other production costs. One of these tools is the Benchmarking technique, which is based on the comparison between different WUAs to determine the best practices in each of them. In this paper, a Benchmarking process is applied to seven WUAs located in Castilla-La Mancha (Spain) during three irrigation seasons (2006-2008). The performance indicators developed by the International Programme for Technology and Research in Irrigation and Drainage (IPTRID) are used, while new indicators dealing with production and energy are proposed. The goals of this paper are to group WUAs with the same characteristics, using performance and energy indicators, and to reduce the set of indicators using statistical methods. The most important indicators, easy to obtain and yielding result in maximum information are retained for further use. Three proposals reducing the initial number of indicators were proposed, with an aim of being useful for future applications based on characterizing WUAs. Indicators results highlighted that irrigable areas can be grouped based on the application of drip irrigation systems and those with sprinkler irrigation systems. When using groundwater resources, no significant differences were observed for energy consumption between these irrigation systems. This can be explained by the indicator energy load index (ICE, m), which had similar values in all WUAs analyzed. According to annual irrigation water supply per unit irrigated area (VTSr, m3Â ha-1), the highest values (between 5200Â m3Â ha-1 and 6800Â m3Â ha-1) were obtained in WUAs with sprinkler irrigation systems, which contained crops characterized by high water requirements, compared to the VTSr (less than 1800Â m3Â ha-1) of WUAs with drip irrigation systems, with crops that required less volume of irrigation water. Regarding production efficiency indicators, in drip irrigation systems the high presence of vineyards, almond and olive trees, crops with low water requirements, explained high values of gross margin per unit irrigation delivery (MBVs, [euro]Â m-3)(close to 0.82Â [euro]Â m-3) in comparison with sprinkler irrigation systems (close to 0.36Â [euro]Â m-3).

Suggested Citation

  • Córcoles, J.I. & de Juan, J.A. & Ortega, J.F. & Tarjuelo, J.M. & Moreno, M.A., 2010. "Management evaluation of Water Users Associations using benchmarking techniques," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 1-11, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agiwat:v:98:y:2010:i:1:p:1-11

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rodriguez-Diaz, J.A. & Camacho-Poyato, E. & Lopez-Luque, R. & Perez-Urrestarazu, L., 2008. "Benchmarking and multivariate data analysis techniques for improving the efficiency of irrigation districts: An application in spain," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 96(1-3), pages 250-259, March.
    2. Garci­a-Vila, M. & Lorite, I.J. & Soriano, M.A. & Fereres, E., 2008. "Management trends and responses to water scarcity in an irrigation scheme of Southern Spain," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 95(4), pages 458-468, April.
    3. Uysal, Özlem Karahan & AtIs, Ela, 2010. "Assessing the performance of participatory irrigation management over time: A case study from Turkey," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 97(7), pages 1017-1025, July.
    4. Ortega, J.F. & de Juan, J.A. & Tarjuelo, J.M., 2005. "Improving water management: The irrigation advisory service of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain)," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 77(1-3), pages 37-58, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Moreno, M.A. & Medina, D. & Ortega, J.F. & Tarjuelo, J.M., 2012. "Optimal design of center pivot systems with water supplied from wells," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 112-121.
    2. Knox, J.W. & Kay, M.G. & Weatherhead, E.K., 2012. "Water regulation, crop production, and agricultural water management—Understanding farmer perspectives on irrigation efficiency," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 3-8.
    3. Soto-García, M. & Martínez-Alvarez, V. & García-Bastida, P.A. & Alcon, F. & Martin-Gorriz, B., 2013. "Effect of water scarcity and modernisation on the performance of irrigation districts in south-eastern Spain," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 11-19.
    4. Córcoles, J.I. & Tarjuelo, J.M. & Moreno, M.A., 2016. "Pumping station regulation in on-demand irrigation networks using strategic control nodes," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 48-56.
    5. Jiménez-Bello, Miguel Ángel & Alzamora, Fernando Martínez & Castel, Juan Ramón & Intrigliolo, Diego S., 2011. "Validation of a methodology for grouping intakes of pressurized irrigation networks into sectors to minimize energy consumption," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 46-53.
    6. Borgia, Cecilia & García-Bolaños, Mariana & Li, Tao & Gómez-Macpherson, Helena & Comas, Jordi & Connor, David & Mateos, Luciano, 2013. "Benchmarking for performance assessment of small and large irrigation schemes along the Senegal Valley in Mauritania," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 19-26.
    7. Ignacio Lorite & Margarita García-Vila & María-Ascensión Carmona & Cristina Santos & María-Auxiliadora Soriano, 2012. "Assessment of the Irrigation Advisory Services’ Recommendations and Farmers’ Irrigation Management: A Case Study in Southern Spain," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 26(8), pages 2397-2419, June.
    8. Martínez-Alvarez, V. & García-Bastida, P.A. & Martin-Gorriz, B. & Soto-García, M., 2014. "Adaptive strategies of on-farm water management under water supply constraints in south-eastern Spain," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 59-67.


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