Water Users/ Stakeholders

Water Demand   

The total water demand in the JRBD amounts to 3,230 hm3 annually. The agricultural sector consumes about 79% of the total water resources, whilst 17% are used by the urban demands. The exploitation system with the highest water demand is the Júcar region with more than half of the total water demand in the JRBD.

Table: Water Demand (CHJ).

Exploitation System Urban Demand (hm3) Agricultural Demand (hm3) Industrial Demand (hm3) Tourism (hm3) Total Demand (hm3)
Cenia-Maestrazgo 18 84 1 <1 103
Mijares-Plana de Castellón 55 232 13 1 301
Palencia-Los Valles 14 74 7 <1 95
Turia 145 459 31 2 637
Júcar 140 1414 56 1 1,611
Serpis 31 82 5 <1 118
Marina Alta 30 54 <1 1 85
Marina Baja 26 34 <1 2 62
Vinalopó-Alacantí 93 106 18 2 219
Total CHJ 552 2539 131 9 3,231


In order to regulate and distribute water, different infrastructures are used. The main rivers regulated by means of reservoirs. Two water transfers exist in the JRBD. One of them is the Júcar-Turia channel with a volume of 130 hm3 annually and the other is the Júcar-Vinalopó which is still under construction, but once operationally it will transfer annually a water volume around 80 hm3.

The water demand in those regions is intense with ratios of water abstractions to renewable resources frequently to one and greater than one, involving water reuse, aquifer overexploitation or water imports from other basins (Andreu, 2013). This is an indicator of basin water scarcity and shows that the basin suffers from high water stress. 

Table: Water abstraction, renewable water resources, and water scarcity index for Spanish basin administrations (Andreu, 2013; MME).

Basin Authority Water abstraction Renewable water resources

Water scarcity index (WA/ RWR)

Galicia Costa 819 12,250 0.07
Norte 1,692 31,907 0.05
Duero 3,860 13,660 0.28
Tajo 4,065 10,883 0.37
Guadiana I 2,312 4,414 0.52
Guadiana II 219 1,061 0.21
Guadalquivir 3,760 8,601 0.44
Sur 1,350 2,351 0.57
Segura 1,834 803 2.28
Júcar 2,962 3,432 0.86
Ebro 10,378 17,967 0.58
C.I. Cataluña 1,357 2,787 0.49
Baleares 288 661 0.44
Canarias 427 409 1.04


Water Institutions

Water in Spain is administrated at the river basin scale by River Basin agencies (Confederaciones Hidrográficas) since 1926 (Andreu, 2013). According to the European Water Framework Directive (2000), the Júcar River Basin Management Plan has to be developed and use as  the framework to guarantee a good status of water bodies.

The Júcar River Basin Agency is structured into four administrative units: Water Commissariat, Technical Directorate, General Secretary and Water Planning Office. The annual available budget is about 45 M €. The expenditures are distributed in the following:

Relevant issues related to the project

The JRBD is often seriously affected by extended periods without precipitation leading to frequent and long hydrological droughts. Like most watersheds in Eastern and South-Eastern Spain, the JRBD can be classified as semi-arid or arid with large space and time variability in precipitation and river flows (Andreu, 2009). Integrated river basin planning and participatory drought management strategies developed during the past centuries have lead to an improved preparedness towards droughts in the region. One of these successful outcomes is the Drought Management Plan for the JRBD (Andreu, 2013), which was launched in 2013 and has recently come into application during the drought event in 2015. The use of long and short term models and Decision Support Systems (DSS) has played an important role in the development of the drought management strategies. With the application of these methods, an increase in water use efficiency could be reached. As a result, the following measures could be achieved: improvement in control devices for surface water diversion, groundwater abstraction and environmental flows, monitoring of water use and environmental state, direct reuse of treated wastewater, temporary water rights purchases.

Between 2005 and 2008, a severe drought occurred in the JRBD, and the DSS as a tool showed high resolution providing information for risk estimation and effectiveness of mitigation. At the beginning of 2015, the state of alert for the risk of drought has been declared in some exploration systems of the JRBD, what has lead to the activation of the protocols established in the Júcar Drought Management Plan.


References and further reading:

Andreu et al. (2009) Decision Support System for Drought Planning and Management in the Jucar River Basin, Spain.

Andreu et al. (2013) Drought Planning and Management in the Júcar River Basin, Spain, in: Schwabe et al., Drought in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, Germany. 

Confederación Hidrográfica del Júcar, www.chj.es Júcar River Basin Agency: Jucar Pilot River Basin – Spain.

Momblanch A., Andreu J., Paredes-Arquiola J., Solera A., Pedro-Monzonís M. (2014) Adapting water accounting for integrated water resource management. The Júcar Water Resource System (Spain), Journal of Hydrology, 519: 3369-3385.

Paredes-Arquiola J., Andreu-Álvarez J., Martín-Monerris M., Solera A. (2010) Water quantity and quality models applied to the Jucar River Basin, Spain, Water Resource Management, 24: 2759-2779.

Pedro-Monzonís M., Ferrer J., Solera A., Estrela T., Paredes-Arquiola J. (2015) Key issues for determining the exploitable water resources in a Mediterranean river basin, Science of the Total Environment, 503-504: 319-28.

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