Drivers of Irrigation Water Productivity and Basin Closure Process: Analysis of the Guadalquivir River Basin (Spain)

  • Alfonso ExpósitoEmail author
  • Julio Berbel


This paper proposes a methodology for the analysis of the evolution of irrigation water productivity that enables the decomposition of its driving factors. The method is applied to the Guadalquivir river basin (southern Spain) in the period 1989-2012 where water policy has aimed to achieve greater irrigation efficiency (IE), defined as the ratio of water beneficially used divided by the total water applied, through the implementation of water conservation and saving technologies (WCSTs). The case study illustrates the basin closure process observed in recent decades and analyses its practical implications for irrigation water productivity and the role played by alternative responses, such as intensification and technical change. The analysis of these drivers of irrigation water productivity may help in the design of water policy in water-scarce areas elsewhere.


Irrigation water productivity River basin closure Technical change Agricultural water management 



This research was financed by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO AGL2014-53417-R). A previous shorter version of the paper was presented at the 10th World Congress of EWRA “Panta Rei” Athens, Greece, 5-9 July 2017.

Authors’ Contribution

Both authors have contributed equally to this research.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest




Average relative irrigation supply


Deficit irrigation


Guadalquivir river basin


Gross value added


Irrigation efficiency


Irrigation water productivity


Land productivity


Water conservation and saving technologies


Water-use intensity


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economic AnalysisUniversity of SevilleSevilleSpain
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural EconomicsUniversity of CordobaCordobaSpain

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