WIT Press

Factors of uncertainty in the integrated management of water resources: The case of water reuse


Free (open access)


Volume 14 (2019), Issue 2



Page Range

141 - 151

Paper DOI



WIT Press


Pablo Aznar-Crespo, Antonio Aledo & Joaquín Melgarejo


The non-conventional water resources (water reuse (WR) and desalination) are a strategic option to compensate the structural water deficit of the southeast of Spain. In addition to increasing water availability and reducing the pressure on conventional resources, these resources show strategic functions at environmental, social and economic level. However, WR does not experience sufficient acceptance by some water users. Uncertainties regarding the quality of reclaimed water, food safety, price or regulations are factors of rejection or ambiguity. The results of a survey carried out on 114 users belonging to irrigation communities of several river basins in Spain are presented. In general, results show a moderate level of implementation of WR. However, the growth potential of WR is significantly high. This depends on water quality and price, which are the two most important valuation factors of WR. Regulations, food safety or water quality for crops generate uncertainty and concern among the irrigation communities. The effects on the environment or the control of availability are aspects positively valued. Conventional resources (transfers and groundwater) are better valued than non-conventional ones (WR and desalination). This constitutes a factor of vulnerability to consolidate the transformation of the Spanish hydrological model. The information presented can be useful to guide the design of future hydrological policies and reduce the socio-institutional vulnerability related to the integrated management of water resources.


Irrigation Communities, Social Perception, Southeast of Spain. Uncertainty, Water Reuse.