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Agricultural Irrigation Water Use in a Closed Basin and the Impacts on Water Productivity: The Case of the Guadalquivir River Basin (Southern Spain)

Department of Economic Analysis, University of Sevilla, 41018 Sevilla, Spain
Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Cordoba, 14014 Cordoba, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2017, 9(2), 136;
Received: 15 November 2016 / Accepted: 13 February 2017 / Published: 20 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
This paper analyses the agricultural irrigation water use in a closed basin and the impacts on water productivity, and examines how they have affected the ‘closure’ process of the Guadalquivir river basin observed in recent decades. Following a period of expansion in irrigation, an administrative moratorium was declared on new irrigated areas in 2005. Since then, the main policy measure has been aimed at the modernisation of irrigated agriculture and the implementation of water conservation technologies. The analysis carried out in this paper shows a significant increase in mean irrigation water productivity in the pre‐moratorium period (1989–2005), driven by the creation of new irrigated areas devoted to high value crops and with a dominant use of deficit irrigation strategies, while a second phase (2005–2012) is characterised by slower growth in terms of the mean productivity of irrigation water, primarily as a result of a significant reduction in water use per area. Findings show that productivity gains seem to have reached a ceiling in this river basin, since technological innovations (such as new crops, deficit irrigation, and water‐saving and conservation technologies) have reached the limits of their capacity to create new value. View Full-Text
Keywords: irrigation water productivity; agricultural water use; basin closure; water policy irrigation water productivity; agricultural water use; basin closure; water policy
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Expósito, A.; Berbel, J. Agricultural Irrigation Water Use in a Closed Basin and the Impacts on Water Productivity: The Case of the Guadalquivir River Basin (Southern Spain). Water 2017, 9, 136.

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