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

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Title: Why (Not) Desalination? Exploring Driving Factors from Irrigation Communities’ Perception in South-East Spain
Authors: Villar Navascués, Rubén Alejandro | Ricart Casadevall, Sandra | Gil-Guirado, Salvador | Rico, Antonio | Arahuetes Hidalgo, Ana
Research Group/s: Agua y Territorio | Clima y Ordenación del Territorio
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Análisis Geográfico Regional y Geografía Física | Universidad de Alicante. Instituto Interuniversitario de Geografía
Keywords: Water scarcity | Desalination | irrigation communities | Perception | Driving factors | Adaptation | Water–energy–food nexus | Alicante | Murcia | South-East Spain
Knowledge Area: Análisis Geográfico Regional
Issue Date: 27-Aug-2020
Publisher: MDPI
Citation: 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
Abstract: 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.
Sponsor: This research was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (PLUVIRESMED research project, reference CSO2015-65182-C2-2P); by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (Juan de la Cierva-Incorporación postdoctoral grant to S.G., reference IJCI-2016-29016) and by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport (predoctoral fellowship to R.V., reference FPU15/01144).
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10045/108718
ISSN: 2073-4441
DOI: 10.3390/w12092408
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Peer Review: si
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092408
Appears in Collections:INV - Agua y Territorio - Artículos de Revistas
INV - CyOT - Artículos de Revistas

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