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Water Conservation and Agriculture Policies: Synergies in the Upper Guadiana (Spain)


  • Esteve, Paloma
  • Varela-Ortega, Consuelo


In the last decades the Common Agricultural Policy has evolved towards a less intensive approach based in a multifunctional agriculture respectful with the environment. At the same time, following the enacting of the Water Framework Directive in 2000, water policies and management regimes are also evolving towards more integrated water management with an active stakeholders’ involvement. In this context, the aim of this paper is to analyze the impact of water conservation policies and agricultural policies (Cross-Compliance: Nitrates Directive) in the Upper Guadiana River basin (Spain), where intensive irrigated agriculture resulted in the overexploitation of the Western La Mancha aquifer and the subsequent degradation of the highly valuable wetlands, and in an important nitrates’ pollution. Focus is made on farmers’ vulnerability to these policies and the synergies between them. The methodology combines qualitative and quantitative aspects defined by the integration of an economic and an agronomic model (CropSyst), and a vulnerability analysis. The economic model (mathematical programming model) simulates farmers’ behaviour facing different policy options. The results of the economic model are used as an input for the analysis of farms’ vulnerability based on farm income indicators, through the elaboration of a vulnerable farms classification tree using CART (Classification and Regression Trees). The results of the model show that farm income is more sensitive to water use limitations than to nitrogen restrictions. Farm size and Water Authority’s policy enforcement capacity are key variables in determining farmers’ vulnerability, being small and legal farms the most vulnerable ones.

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  • Esteve, Paloma & Varela-Ortega, Consuelo, 2008. "Water Conservation and Agriculture Policies: Synergies in the Upper Guadiana (Spain)," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 43853, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaae08:43853

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Varela-Ortega, C., 2007. "Policy-driven determinants of irrigation development and environmental sustainability: a case study in Spain," IWMI Books, Reports H040612, International Water Management Institute.
    2. Alwang, Jeffrey & Siegel, Paul B. & Jorgensen, Steen L., 2001. "Vulnerability : a view from different disciplines," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 23304, The World Bank.
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    water and agriculture policy; economic model; vulnerability analysis; Agricultural and Food Policy; Resource /Energy Economics and Policy;

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