The aim of the ISIIMM project is to share experiences, knowledge and build new perspectives for sustainable water management in Mediterranean irrigation systems. In order to achieve this objective, several works have been developed in Spain during the last 4 years, consisting on the collection and analysis of information and the exchange of mutual knowledge and experiences between the participating countries.
During the initial stage of the project several methodological criteria specifically related to the particular features of Spanish case studies were defined so as to establish the coherence of incoherence of water management in case study basins in relation to present model of sustainable use of water. This methodology was based on the study of three main topics: local organizations and territory, structure and management of local organizations and adaptation of local organizations to changes.
According to these methodological guidelines, several actions were developed in Genil and Júcar basins, aimed at collecting and organizing relevant knowledge throughout the organization of local meetings, the analysis of bibliographic information and several work fields. With this information, technical reports were produced with the information collected.
These reports and the mobilization of irrigators and water management experts were the basis of the Spanish participation in several exchange seminars and technical seminars with other ISIIMM groups along the years 2004, 2005 and 2006, achieving the objectives defined at the beginning of the project. During this stage, new requirements of collection and analysis of information were identified in order to boost the comparativeness of the 12 cases of study and the global coherence of the project.
From a political and institutional point of view, the general context of the project experimented in Spain important alterations along this period, related to the abolition of the National Hydraulic Plan–due to last year change of government--, which involved the implementation of new measures (Plan AGUA) to replace Ebro River Transfer Project and changes introduced in Júcar-Vinalopó Transfer Project.
The present document summarizes the Spanish participation in the project, synthesizing the main contents of previous reports in order to describe the institutional experience on irrigation management in our country, according to the requirements of comparability of this project. For this reason, this Final Report has been structured in three levels: National, Regional/Basin and Local.
At the National level, the report makes a particular effort in the explanation of the principles of water administration and the legal framework for water and its historical, social, hydraulic and environmental context; and also to describe the principles, relationships, participatory regimes and functions of the institutions dealing with management of water for irrigation in Spain, from the top level to the local level.
At the regional or basin level, the stress is put on the territorial aspects, due to the fact that the basin use to be the scenery of conflicts between upstream/downstream users and also between different
regional administrations. This fact requires the assessment and geographical balance of water resources and uses, the social, environmental and economical context and impacts of water management. Moreover, the capability of previously defined institutions to deal with these problems is tested here.
Finally, at the local level, the report presents as an example, selected cases from our study of 16 water users’ associations --detailed in previous reports--, dealing with the development, objectives, management and operational procedures of several water users’ associations, based in the work fields and the direct participation of farmers.