Water and Agriculture

Sustainability, Markets and Policies

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Agriculture is a major user of water and is responsible for much of its pollution. But the agricultural sector faces increasing competition for scarce water supplies from urban and industrial users and, increasingly, to sustain ecosystems.  This conference proceedings explores how both governments and the private sector can expand the role of markets to allocate water used by all sectors and to get agricultural producers to account for the pollution that their sector generates.



The Spanish Programme of Improvement and Modernisation of Traditional Irrigation Systems

The need for the improvement and modernisation of Spanish irrigated areas is easily understood when some of their technical characteristics are taken into account. One of them gives a good idea of the problem: one third of the Spanish irrigated area is more than a century old. The improvement and modernisation programme attempts to correct this situation, which burdens the competitiveness of the irrigated agriculture and causes environmental concerns, and this programme aims to upgrade irrigation schemes and increase the irrigation efficiency up to 70%. Other objectives are water savings, upgrading technologies, decreasing diffuse pollution, improving farmers’ quality of life … To carry out such a programme, a great effort of co-ordination and co-operation among public administrations and stakeholders has been expended. This effort has led to a high state of implementation at present.


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