Cabello-Villarejo V., Musicki Savic A., Romero Manrique, D., Monterrey Viña A., Guimarães Pereira Â., Peñate Suárez B. (2020), Solving water problems vs. creating new ones: the use of alternative water resources for irrigation. MAGIC (H2020–GA 689669) Project Deliverable 6.7, 27 February 2020.
The objective of this Deliverable was to provide robust knowledge in order to assist on the elaboration of efficient policies both at European and regional levels regarding the development and implementation of Alternative Water Resources (AWR), taking into consideration the Water-Energy-Food Nexus (WEF) i.e. the interactions between the water, energetic and agricultural systems. In general terms, we found (and contributed to) social acceptance of AWR as pertinent innovations to face problems of decreasing freshwater resources while providing security to farmers in terms of water availability, quality and price.
According to our analysis, AWR play an important role in several aspects, for instance, they may contribute to the recovery of aquifers; support agricultural production for exportation; regulate water prices within a context of private water market; or reduce seasonal dependence on water. When studying a situation of water scarcity and scenarios of climatic emergence, we found that societal consensus is clear within the majority of actors involved. Nevertheless, other factors require further analysis and improvements: the quality of water, the environmental impacts (soil, marine health), fossil fuels dependence, or the knowledge on water management. Energy consumption is another relevant issue. Our findings suggest that the consideration of the WEF Nexus is weak among the majority of the stakeholders (for instance, AWR promoters, policymakers, researchers, etc.). Furthermore, there is no regulatory framework considering the Nexus as a whole.
In conclusion, AWR constitute a stable resource to alleviate water stress in regions suffering water scarcity, but they do only partially contribute to the recovery of a depressed agricultural activity and the reduction of fossil fuels consumption.