Introduction: Water Policy and Management in Spain
This chapter discusses to diagnose the current state of irrigation in Spain in order to support government decision makers to improve the design and application of their plans for action. The analysis implemented shows that this sector faces two main challenges: the decrease in the support given by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive (EWFD). While the survival of extensive irrigated agriculture in inland regions depends on farmers producing different crops and modernizing production techniques, littoral regions must respond with technological innovation, especially techniques that save water and help differentiate their products. Within this scenario, a public policy is justified, aimed at improving Spanish irrigation schemes looking forward to better economic performance, an increase in the efficiency of water use and the mitigation of pollution problems. The structural change necessary to address the challenges faced by irrigated agriculture in Spain requires the support and guidance of public authorities.