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Open AccessArticle

The Problem of Water Use in Rural Areas of Southwestern Spain: A Local Perspective

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GeoEnvironmental Research Group (GIGA), University of Extremadura, 10071 Cáceres, Spain
2
Faculty of Business and Tourism, University of Extremadura, 10071 Cáceres, Spain
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Soil, Water and Land Use Team, Wageningen University, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(6), 1311; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11061311
Received: 20 May 2019 / Revised: 10 June 2019 / Accepted: 20 June 2019 / Published: 25 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Water Resources Management and Governance)
Water is a key strategic resource, particularly in Mediterranean climate-type areas with impermeable rocks and shallow soils like Southwestern Spain. The region of Extremadura is commonly known by its large surface occupied by big dams (30% of water dammed in Spain) although this theoretical abundance of water does not hide other problems of use. In this study, we have interviewed 132 people from the municipality of Arroyo de San Serván in order to know what the problems related to water use are, especially those that concern local people the most. Regarding the use of water at home, 90% of interviewees spend less than 60 EUR per month for water and their mean degree of satisfaction about the service is 3.7 out of 7. The reason for this low value can be the excessive content of calcium and bad taste according to 82.1%. Therefore, 64.2% of people do not usually drink water from the tap. Around two thirds of these local people usually buy water in the supermarket or drink filtered water. Concerning agricultural activities, local people gave great importance to irrigation as a source of employment (5.6/7) and inputs (4.5/7), although their satisfaction decreases about the current price of water for agriculture (0.02 EUR m−3). In addition, they are really worried about the overuse of fertilizers and herbicides (5.4/7) and they think about the necessity of taking measures to reduce these problems (6.1/7) as well as to reduce some management problems such as supply cuts. In the last few years, private (swimming pools) and public leisure facilities (swimming pool and spa) have been built in spite of not being considered important by local people (3.6–4.0/7). Nevertheless, about 60% of them consider these common facilities very positive in terms of employment, tourism attractions and entertainment for local people. View Full-Text
Keywords: drinking water; irrigation; leisure facilities; local perception drinking water; irrigation; leisure facilities; local perception
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Pulido, M.; Barrena-González, J.; Alfonso-Torreño, A.; Robina-Ramírez, R.; Keesstra, S. The Problem of Water Use in Rural Areas of Southwestern Spain: A Local Perspective. Water 2019, 11, 1311.

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