Groundwater in Spain: legal framework and management issues
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Spain is a country with a large hydrogeologic potential. As in other southern European countries the water resources, besides urban supply, are used mainly for irrigation and much of the groundwater abstraction is concentrated in a number of intensively exploited aquifers. Groundwater was declared a public domain resource in Spain in 1985, but the real implementation of such a declaration has encountered many difficulties in practice. Because groundwater was a private property before the 1985 Water Act, it was not considered a task for water management agencies and water authorities in Spain. As with aIl the European Union Member States, Spain is nowadays fuIly involved in the process of implementing the principies of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) (European Commission, 2000). Such a process constitutes a unique opportunity to improve groundwater protection and knowledge, and achieve effective management of this resource. However, to adapt the WFD principies to the hydro-climatic and socio-economic context of a south European Mediterranean country is not an easy task. The current papel' provides an overview of the hydrogeologic context and groundwater management practices in Spain. The main groundwater "facts and figures" of Spain are introduced first, mainly concerning the hydrogeologic knowledge and groundwater use in the country, with a section on specific technical measures. A summary of the groundwater management context is described afterwards, introducing the institutional and legal framework as weIl as sorne basic concepts related to groundwater management, and also a section on groundwater cost issues. Next, a section of discussion about the ongoing process of the WFD implementation in Spain is offered. This paper finishes with a general summary and some conclusions.
CitationMolinero, J. [et al.]. Groundwater in Spain: legal framework and management issues. A: "Groundwater management practices". CRC Press/Balkema, 2011, p. 123-137.