International Approaches to Policy and Decision-making
Edited by Jayne M. Godfrey and Keryn Chalmers
Chapter 7: Potential Role of Standardized Water Accounting in Spanish Basins
Joaquín Andreu, Andrea Momblanch, Javier Paredes, Miguel Ángel Pérez and Abel Solera INTRODUCTION Many of the Mediterranean basins in Spain have a ratio of annual water demand to average natural renewable resource either close to, or exceeding one. A ratio higher than one indicates an overexploitation of natural reserves (such as aquifers) by recycling water and by recurrent importation of water from other basins. In water-scarce basins that are prone to intense and persistent droughts, this intensive use of water can lead to problems of low reliability of water supplies for non-priority uses (such as agriculture) and high risks of deficits for priority uses (such as urban supply) and for environmental flows. Among the measures included in the Spanish basin plans to fulfil the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) (European Commission 2000) are new definitions of the regimes of ecological flows. This will require an augmentation of the water devoted to environmental protection and will reduce the water available for economic uses. In this context, measures to promote efficiency in water use are crucial for attaining the objectives of the WFD. Hence, greater rates of recovery of the costs of water services and water markets will also be promoted. It is expected that General Purpose Water Accounting could contribute to a better control of water in this new framework and also to greater transparency in the planning and management of water resources. Water accounting for natural basins is not an easy task, as water balances cannot be more...
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