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Universitad Zaragoza (2022)

Hydroeconomic Analysis of the Sustainable Use of Land and Water Resources under Droughts and Climate Change

Crespo Estage, Daniel

Titre : Hydroeconomic Analysis of the Sustainable Use of Land and Water Resources under Droughts and Climate Change

Auteur : Crespo Estage, Daniel

Université de soutenance : Universitad Zaragoza

Grade : Doctorado en Economía 2022

Water management faces water scarcity problems in a context of growing demand for water and shrinking water availability, which further aggravate the unsustainable operation of water systems in many basins. Population expansion, changing consumption patterns, and economic growth are pushing the strong escalation of water demand in recent decades, a trend that will continue in the future. The impending effects of climate change are going to worsen with further reductions in precipitations, higher temperatures, and longer and more intense drought periods. Current water scarcity problems will become wicked challenges for management in many basins, given the growing unbalance between demand and available resources. Environmental protection is becoming a decisive issue because of the degradation of water dependent ecosystems and their functions that support life. Preserving aquatic ecosystems entails the containment of water withdrawals for economic activities, further increasing the current competition for already scarce water resources. Disputes among water users arise in periods of strong water scarcity, resulting in conflicts between economic sectors and locations, and critical depletion of environmental flows. Sustainable water management seeks to conciliate water users’ interests in order to achieve efficient water use, social equity and environmental protection. Climate change brings about quite overwhelming management challenges, adding further uncertainty to water planning. Hydroeconomic analysis is becoming a valuable tool for the design of sustainable water management policies, providing insights for adaptation to climate change. These insights are based on the evaluation of impacts resulting from water allocations under alternative management policies, but also from the tradeoffs between maintaining economic activities or protecting environmental flows. Despite the advances in hydroeconomic modeling, several methodological and empirical issues require further enhancements. This thesis suggests some answers to several unsettled questions in hydroeconomic analysis regarding the sharing of costs from water scarcity, the incorporation of environmental benefits for advancing sustainable management, and the appropriate treatment of basin inflows under climate change. In addition, the findings in this thesis indicate the combination of water management policies that could improve the reliability, resilience, and vulnerability of water systems.

Mots Clés  : aguas superficiales ; economia de recursos naturales y analisis territorial ; economia general ; hidrologia


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