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Living with drought in the Irrigated agriculture of the Ebro basin (Spain): structural and water management actions

AutorPlayán Jubillar, Enrique ; Playán Jubillar, Enrique ; Lecina Brau, Sergio ; Isidoro, Daniel ; Aragüés Lafarga, Ramón ; Faci González, José María ; Salvador Esteban, Raquel ; Zapata Ruiz, Nery ; Cavero Campo, José
Fecha de publicación2013
CitaciónPlayán E, Lecina S, Aragüés R, Faci JM, Salvador R, Zapata N, Cavero J. Living with drought in the Irrigated agriculture of the Ebro basin (Spain): structural and water management actions. In: Schwabe K, Albiac J, Connor JD, Hassan RM, Meza L (Eds.), Drought in arid and semi-arid regions: a multi-disciplinary and cross-country perspective, pp. 63-80 (2013)
ResumenThis chapter presents a discussion of a set of technological actions aimed at living with drought in the irrigated agricultural region of the Ebro Basin in Spain. The basin faces recurrent drought episodes that have led farmers to take action on the structural and water management aspects of water conservation. Structural works have taken the form of large irrigation modernization plans, affecting about one-fourth of the currently irrigated land. Modernization typically implies the construction of collective, remote-controlled, pressurized irrigation networks and the installation of on-farm sprinkler/drip irrigation systems. The impacts of these modernization projects on the Ebro Basin hydrology and on the economy and productivity of irrigated agriculture are discussed. In parallel, actions have been set up to improve water management, mostly at the water-user association (WUA) level. The cooperative design, elaboration, and dissemination of a database software supporting daily water management operations in WUAs is presented, and the utilities for drought management are discussed. Finally, a plan for action benefiting from improvements on both structures and water management capacities is presented. This new action comprises automated irrigation scheduling and operation, and is based on a combination of remotely controlled networks, WUA management and meteorological databases, and irrigation engineering tools. The proposed action has already undergone significant research and could result in the generalization of scientific irrigation scheduling and in the complete automation of irrigation operation. Technology can support farmers in their efforts to adapt to drought conditions and still obtain sustainable profits.
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