Economic Analysis of Water Markets in the Spanish Agricultural Sector: Can They Provide Substantial Benefits?

  • Alberto Garrido
Part of the Natural Resource Management and Policy book series (NRMP, volume 15)


In normal years, Spain’s total rainfall that flows into rivers, lakes and aquifers amounts to 110,000 million m3. Substantial structural efforts to increase and stabilize supplies that date back to the Roman Empire domination of the Iberian peninsula, currently allow the control of about 40 percent of that volume of water (45,000 million m3). Until very recently, water policies were virtually limited to supplying water for residential consumption and the agricultural sector. Other objectives, such as streamflow benefits, were overridden by the need to meet those increasing demands. Presently, Spain devotes 80 percent of all available water to irrigate about 3.3 million hectares, and the remaining 20 percent to urban and industrial consumptive uses. Rainfall patterns across the country differ in such a magnitude that the northern basins get 18 times more water than the driest, southeastern basins. Moreover, the latter are the regions where irrigated agriculture produces the most valuable crops and where population demands for water during the tourist and driest season are two or three times larger than in winter.


Transaction Cost Welfare Gain Irrigation District Water Market Irrigation Technology 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Caswell, M. and D. Zilberman, 1985. “The Choices of Irrigation Technologies in California.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 67(2), 224–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Domínguez Vila, A., 1996. “El Mercado de Aguas en Canarias.” Paper presented at the VI th Meeting on Water Law. Zaragoza, Spain, March.Google Scholar
  3. Fisher, A., D. M. Fullerton, N. Hatch, and P. Reinelt, 1995. “Alternatives for Managing Drought: A Comparative Cost Analysis.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 29, 304–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Garrido, A., 1995. La Economía del Agua: Análisis de la Asignación de Recursos Mediante el Establecimiento de Mercados de Derechos de Agua en el Valle del Guadalquivir. Doctoral Dissertation, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid.Google Scholar
  5. González, A. and S.J. Rubio, 1992. “Optimal Interbasin Water Transfers in Spain.” Report for the European Science Foundation’s research program: Sharing fresh resources in the Mediterranean region: An economic perspective.Google Scholar
  6. Hearne, R. R. and K.W. Easter, 1995. Water Allocation and Water Markets. An Analysis of Gains-from-Trade in Chile. World Bank Technical Paper Number 315, World Bank, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  7. Howitt, R. E., 1993. “Empirical Analysis of Water Market Institutions: The 1991 California Water Market.” Paper presented at the Conference: Economic Aspects of International Water Resources Utilization in the Mediterranean Basin. Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei. Milan, Italy.Google Scholar
  8. Howitt, R. E., 1995. “Positive Mathematical Programming.” Journal of Agricultural Economics, 77(2):329–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. I.N.E., 1991. Censo Agrario 1989. Madrid.Google Scholar
  10. Jacques, S., 1992. “The Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 74: 1316–1321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Maass, A. and R. L. Anderson, 1978. …and the Desert Shall Rejoice. Conflict, Growth and Justice in the Arid Environments. M.I.T. Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  12. MAPA, 1995. Avance del Plan Nacional de Regadíos. Secretaría General de Desarrollo Rural y Conservatión de la Naturaleza. Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentatión, October, Madrid.Google Scholar
  13. Michelson, A. M. and R. A. Young, 1993. “Optioning Agricultural Water Rights for Urban Water Supplies During Drought.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 75: 1010–1020.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. MOPTMA, 1993. Memoria delProyecto del Plan Hidrológico Nacional. Madrid.Google Scholar
  15. Morillo-Velarde, R., 1991. Respuesta de la Remolacha de Siembra Otoñal al Riego. Doctoral dissertation. Universidad de Cordoba, Cordoba, SpainGoogle Scholar
  16. Perez-Diaz, V., J. Mezo, and B. Alvarez, 1996. Politica y Economía del Agua en España. Círculo de Empresarios, MadridGoogle Scholar
  17. Saura Martínez, J., 1995. “La Modernization de Regadios.” El campo 132,185–200.Google Scholar
  18. Tobarra, P., 1995. Estudio del Alto Guadalentin Desde la Perspectiva Economíca de la Gestíon del Agua Subterránea. Caja de Ahorros del Mediterraneo, Murcia (Spain).Google Scholar
  19. Williams, J. R., P. T. Dyke, W. W. Fuchs, V. W. Benson, O. W. Rice, and E. D. Taylor, 1990. EPIC: Erosion Productivity Impact Calculator. United States Department of Agriculture, Temple, Texas.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alberto Garrido
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Economia y Ciencias Sociales AgrariasUniversidad Politécnica de MadridMadridSpain

Personalised recommendations