Water Governance

Water Governance

An Evaluation of Alternative Architectures

Edited by Asanga Gunawansa and Lovleen Bhullar

This insightful book explores urban water governance challenges in different parts of the world and highlights the advantages and disadvantages of publicly run, privatized, and public–private partnership managed water facilities.

Chapter 6: Water governance in Spain: a dynamic system in transition

Belen Olmos Giupponi

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, environmental economics, environmental governance and regulation, water


Spain represents an interesting case in terms of water management in Europe. As a Mediterranean country with semi-arid regions and unequal distribution of water resources, Spain had to introduce various changes to the system in order to secure access to water for its 44 million inhabitants (as of 2008). Consequently, Spain’s water policy and management have undergone a process of continuous change over the past 30 years. Water governance in Spain has been categorized into three levels of institutional arrangements. The state (central government) plays a crucial role in the institutional coordination and allocation of water resources. At the same time, regional governments (Comunidades Autónomas) are vested with important powers in terms of water management, while local administrations are responsible for water supply and sanitation. Consequently, there are many cross-regional variations regarding the water governance architectures and the level of institutional development.

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