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Las aguas subterráneas y la tragedia de los Comunes de Vinalopó (Alicante, España)/Groundwaters and the Tragedy of the Commons in Vinalopó (Alicante, Spain)



    () (Departamento de Análisis Económico Aplicado. Universidad de Alicante.)


    () (Departamento de Análisis Económico Aplicado. Universidad de Alicante.)


    () (Departamento de Análisis Económico Aplicado. Universidad de Alicante.)


En una economía de mercado, los distintos bienes económicos tratan de gestionarse buscando la máxima eficiencia, sobre todo para los propietarios. La gestión colectiva se aplica en el caso de algunos bienes con características específicas, tales como la dificultad de su divisibilidad y apropiación privada. Las aguas subterráneas entrarían dentro de este grupo. Aguas localizadas bajo amplias superficies de terreno que facilitan su explotación a un amplio número de usuarios con el objetivo de obtener el máximo rendimiento de las extracciones. En España, esta situación vino favorecida por la consideración que la Ley de Aguas de 1879, vigente hasta su cambio en 1985, hacía de las aguas subterráneas al considerarlas como privadas, distinguiéndolas así de las superficiales, que tenían el carácter de dominio público. Este marco legal generó un fuerte proceso de extracciones de agua especialmente en las zonas áridas, lo que ha originado situaciones insostenibles en la actualidad. En el caso aquí estudiado, tratamos de analizar, además del comportamiento privado en ese proceso, cómo las políticas públicas contribuyeron también a esta situación en las comarcas del Vinalopó, poniendo en evidencia que a veces, la intervención pública puede contribuir a lo que se ha denominado “la tragedia de los comunes”. In a market economy, different economic goods are managed trying to look for maximum efficiency, especially for the owners. Collective management is applied in the case of some goods with specific characteristics, such as the difficulty of its divisibility and private appropriation. Groundwater falls into this group. Water located under large areas of land to facilitate its exploitation to a large number of users in order to get the highest profit. In Spain, this situation was favoured by the consideration of groundwater as a private good by the 1879 Water Act, in force until 1985, to distinguish from the surface waters, which had the character of the public domain. This legal framework created a strong process of water extractions especially in arid areas, which has resulted in unsustainable situations today. In the case studied here, we tried to analyze, not only the private behaviour in the process, but how public policy also contributed to this situation in the regions of Vinalopó, showing that sometimes, public intervention can contribute to what has been called “the tragedy of the commons”

Suggested Citation

  • Sevilla Jiménez, Martín & Torregrosa, Teresa & Moreno, Luis, 2010. "Las aguas subterráneas y la tragedia de los Comunes de Vinalopó (Alicante, España)/Groundwaters and the Tragedy of the Commons in Vinalopó (Alicante, Spain)," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 28, pages 305-332, Agosto.
  • Handle: RePEc:lrk:eeaart:28_2_4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Faber, Malte & Proops, John L. R., 1993. "Natural resource rents, economic dynamics and structural change: a capital theoretic approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 17-44, August.
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    More about this item


    economía del agua; acuíferos subterráneos; tragedia de los comunes; gestión de los recursos comunes; políticas públicas ; water economics; groundwater aquifers; tragedy of the commons; common resource management; public policy.;

    JEL classification:

    • Q21 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy


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