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Article

Why (Not) Desalination? Exploring Driving Factors from Irrigation Communities’ Perception in South-East Spain

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Water and Territory Research Group, Interuniversity Institute of Geography, University of Alicante, 03690 San Vicente del Raspeig, Spain
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Laboratory of Climatology, Department of Regional Geographic Analysis and Physical Geography, University of Alicante, 03690 San Vicente del Raspeig, Spain
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Department of Geography, University of Murcia, 30001 Murcia, Spain
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Department of Regional Geographic Analysis and Physical Geography, University of Alicante, 03690 San Vicente del Raspeig, Spain
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(9), 2408; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092408
Received: 3 August 2020 / Revised: 20 August 2020 / Accepted: 25 August 2020 / Published: 27 August 2020
Desalination for sustaining agricultural production is conceived as an alternative water source in some Mediterranean countries faced with climatological and hydrological constraints. Although high costs are often cited as limiting factors, how farmers discern desalinated water has not been discussed in-depth in the literature. This paper aims to deepen how desalination is perceived by irrigators, what driving factors are affecting irrigation communities’ decision-making processes, and what learnings can be drawn from their experiences regarding desalination acceptance or rejection. Eleven irrigation communities have been selected from Alicante and Murcia regions (South-East Spain), which account for more than 60,000 irrigators and 120,000 ha. Questionnaires were conducted between March and December 2019. Results highlighted the main advantages (water availability and supply security) and disadvantages (high price affecting profitable crop options, high-energy consumption, water quality standards, the production capacity of desalination plants, no seasonal variation in water production, and shortages due to technical problems) of using desalinated water. Additionally, through the analysis of regional and national press news, it can be concluded that socio-political aspects, such as corruption, cost overruns, and political disputes are also considered. View Full-Text
Keywords: water scarcity; desalination; irrigation communities; perception; driving factors; adaptation; water–energy–food nexus; Alicante; Murcia; South-East Spain water scarcity; desalination; irrigation communities; perception; driving factors; adaptation; water–energy–food nexus; Alicante; Murcia; South-East Spain
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MDPI and ACS Style

Villar-Navascués, R.; Ricart, S.; Gil-Guirado, S.; Rico-Amorós, A.M.; Arahuetes, A. Why (Not) Desalination? Exploring Driving Factors from Irrigation Communities’ Perception in South-East Spain. Water 2020, 12, 2408. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092408

AMA Style

Villar-Navascués R, Ricart S, Gil-Guirado S, Rico-Amorós AM, Arahuetes A. Why (Not) Desalination? Exploring Driving Factors from Irrigation Communities’ Perception in South-East Spain. Water. 2020; 12(9):2408. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092408

Chicago/Turabian Style

Villar-Navascués, Rubén, Sandra Ricart, Salvador Gil-Guirado, Antonio M. Rico-Amorós, and Ana Arahuetes. 2020. "Why (Not) Desalination? Exploring Driving Factors from Irrigation Communities’ Perception in South-East Spain" Water 12, no. 9: 2408. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092408

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