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Antes de la política hidráulica. La gestión del agua bajo el Estado liberal en España (1833-1866)


  • Salvador Calatayud



The regulation of the use of water in Spain went through a profound transformation during the first decades of the liberal State. Liberalism introduced institutional changes which affected all those aspects related to the use and administration of water resources. Water property rights were established and water was declared, for its most part, a public property. Priorities on the water resource use were fixed. Common organizational ways were introduced in all communities dedicated to irrigation. In this respect, the State set a wide margin of autonomy in the water management, although it kept the supervision and the rights of the Administration to intercede in the life within those communities. All irrigation systems were forced to have written regulations and those internal rules were homogenized. And, finally, the State interceded in the conflicts raised in a great amount of canals, especially in the newly created ones or in those whose construction had been interrupted during the crisis of the old regime. The outcome was a new institutional framework, developed at the same time that the Administration of the new State became established. During thirty years partial regulations were promulgated and the state's capacity to apply them was put to test. This process culminated in 1866 with the unification of these rules in a Water Law which would regulate this natural resource during more than a century.

Suggested Citation

  • Salvador Calatayud, 2013. "Antes de la política hidráulica. La gestión del agua bajo el Estado liberal en España (1833-1866)," Documentos de Trabajo de la Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria 1304, Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria.
  • Handle: RePEc:seh:wpaper:1304

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    Cited by:

    1. Carles Sanchis Ibor, 2016. "Las instituciones intercomunitarias de gestión colectiva del riego. El fracaso del Sindicato General de Riegos del Turia (1850-1883)," Historia Agraria. Revista de Agricultura e Historia Rural, Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria, issue 68, pages 41-70, april.

    More about this item


    Water management; Rural History; State building;

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N53 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water

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