The effects of irrigation modernization on the cost recovery of water in the Valencia Region (Spain)

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The modernization of the irrigation systems has been the main strategy followed by the regional administration of the Valencia Region to cope with the structural water deficit of the region, which has been particularly severe during the last three decades. These policies have been oriented to the substitution of gravity irrigation systems for drip technology. The technological change has involved an important investment effort, developed by different public administrations and also the farmers and water users' associations (WUAs). This transformation, has also involved a change in the structure of costs of the WUAs. This paper analyzes the changes in costs and tariffs of irrigation after the important investments made in the modernization of irrigation. The effects of subsidies on the percentage of the cost recovery in the services of water for irrigation are also considered. All of them have developed modernization projects in the recent years. It can be concluded that conflict between two objectives proposed by the Water Framework Directive may exist. On the one hand, significant reductions of water supply are observed; meanwhile, on the other hand, the cost recovery percentage diminishes significantly.

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