Adaptive Irrigation Management in Drought Contexts: Institutional Robustness and Cooperation in the Riegos del Alto Aragon Project (Spain)

  • Sergio Villamayor-Tomas
Part of the Springer Water book series (SPWA)


This chapter aims to understand the ability of more than 10,000 farmers in a large irrigation project to cooperate and adjust their water demands to cope with droughts. Causal inferences are formulated with the aid of common pool resource (CPR) theory as well as qualitative and quantitative evidence. According to the analysis, a series of robust water management institutions as well as additional land use factors contribute to the collective adaptation of farmers in drought conditions. Water management institutions include a flexible common property regime, effective environmental and social monitoring mechanisms, and decentralized administrative leadership. Land use factors include the existence of a moderate heterogeneity of farmers in their dependence from irrigated agriculture, the relatively substitutability of high and low water demand crops and a strong mechanism of government-sponsored income support subsidies. Overall, the analysis illustrates the interest of understanding adaptation from the perspective of CPR theory, as well as the usefulness of integrating the study of water and land use dynamics to understand sustainable management in the irrigation sector.


Irrigation System Water Allocation Common Pool Resource Sprinkler Irrigation Water Demand Crop 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sergio Villamayor-Tomas
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Resource Economics, Department of Agricultural EconomicsHumboldt UniversityBerlinGermany

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