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The Guadalquivir basin case study


In the Guadalquivir basin, in the southern part of Spain, agriculture is a key economic sector. Due to its privileged agro-climatic conditions, the region grows a wide range of crops, from cereals, oilseeds, sugar-beet and cotton, to varied fruits and horticulture products and olives, being Andalusia the world’s largest producer of olive oil. Intensive and extensive productions coexist as well as market-oriented large, medium-size and small farms. However, this highly productive agriculture and its dependant socio-economic structure will be threatened by climate change impacts on water availability and frequency of extreme events such as drought. The impacts of climate change on the agricultural sector in this region are expected to have large social significance, as this region has the second largest share of agricultural employment in Spain. In consequence, it will be relevant for this region to analyze CC impacts, vulnerability and adaptation strategies across different geographical locations, economic sectors and social groups.

The Guadalquivir basin (Spain)

Source: own elaboration

The main issues concerning water management and climate change in this basin are:

  • Highly valuable ecosystems threatened by climate change and agricultural activity (Doñana National Park)
  • Technical challenges: improving water use technical efficiency (modernization of irrigation techniques)
  • Special institutional setting, different from other river basins in Spain, which poses water management under the shared competence of the regional administration and the river basin authority, that can promote mainstreaming of climate change under the water policies



Olive groves in the Guadalquivir basin



Flamingos in the marshes of Doñana National Park (Guadalquivir basin)
Source: Miguel Vazquez.

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