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Title: Trade-offs between Water Allocations and Environmental Flows: A Hydroeconomic Analysis in the Ebro Basin
Authors: Crespo Estage, Daniel
Albiac Murillo, José
Kahil, Mohamed Taher
Esteban Gracia, Encarna
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: C.I.T.A. Unidad de Economía Agroalimentaria y de los Recursos Naturales
Series/Report no.: Documento de trabajo
Abstract: Addressing a more sustainable management of water resources involves new policies that require improved knowledge on water allocations and benefits from the economic and environmental uses of water. However, environmental uses have been mostly disregarded in traditional water management, and just recently the maintenance of environmental water flows is being considered as a key issue in water policies. The aim of this study is to analyze the spatial and sectoral allocation of water resources in the Ebro Basin (Spain), in order to inform the debate on the environmental flow in the Ebro mouth. The study analyzes in detail the irrigation districts using most of the water resources, and the environmental flow proposals for the river mouth. A hydro-economic model is developed to analyze the effects of different water allocation mechanisms under combinations of water availability and environmental flow scenarios. This is an important tool to explore the tradeoffs and political economy aspects from water reallocation. Results show that the petition of raising the environmental flow at the Ebro mouth during droughts by the downstream state (Cataluña) would be very costly for all irrigation districts in the basin. One alternative for the downstream state to gain the support of the rest of states for raising the environmental flow would be to compensate the losses of irrigation districts in upstream states.
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