Intensive groundwater use in agriculture and IWRM: An impossible marriage?
ABSTRACT: Groundwater is widely used in many countries worldwide. Particularly in semiarid regions, such as Spain, aquifers provide a series of practical advantages which make them preferential sources of supply for many uses. In this country, groundwater accounts for one third of the total irrigated surface and one fourth of the total water consumption, as well as for one third of the economic value of Spain’s irrigated crop production. This chapter examines groundwater-based agricultural development in Spain from the perspective of the European Union Water Framework Directive. Based on the example of different case studies, it is concluded that its principles and requirements remain distant from what is actually happening on the ground, where economic, political and social reasons prevail on legal considerations set by national and supranational regulations. In this Chapter greater emphasis is put on irrigation because this sector is by far the main user of groundwater.