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Management Evaluation Of Water Users Associations Using Benchmarking Techniques

J. Còrcoles, J. A. Juan, J. F. Ortega, J. Tarjuelo, Miguel Ángel Moreno
Published 2010 · Economics

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The development of different tools to evaluate the performance of Water Users Associations (WUAs) is an important practice for improving water and energy management, together with other production costs. One of these tools is the Benchmarking technique, which is based on the comparison between different WUAs to determine the best practices in each of them. In this paper, a Benchmarking process is applied to seven WUAs located in Castilla-La Mancha (Spain) during three irrigation seasons (2006-2008). The performance indicators developed by the International Programme for Technology and Research in Irrigation and Drainage (IPTRID) are used, while new indicators dealing with production and energy are proposed. The goals of this paper are to group WUAs with the same characteristics, using performance and energy indicators, and to reduce the set of indicators using statistical methods. The most important indicators, easy to obtain and yielding result in maximum information are retained for further use. Three proposals reducing the initial number of indicators were proposed, with an aim of being useful for future applications based on characterizing WUAs. Indicators results highlighted that irrigable areas can be grouped based on the application of drip irrigation systems and those with sprinkler irrigation systems. When using groundwater resources, no significant differences were observed for energy consumption between these irrigation systems. This can be explained by the indicator energy load index (ICE, m), which had similar values in all WUAs analyzed. According to annual irrigation water supply per unit irrigated area (VTSr, m3Â ha-1), the highest values (between 5200Â m3Â ha-1 and 6800Â m3Â ha-1) were obtained in WUAs with sprinkler irrigation systems, which contained crops characterized by high water requirements, compared to the VTSr (less than 1800Â m3Â ha-1) of WUAs with drip irrigation systems, with crops that required less volume of irrigation water. Regarding production efficiency indicators, in drip irrigation systems the high presence of vineyards, almond and olive trees, crops with low water requirements, explained high values of gross margin per unit irrigation delivery (MBVs, [euro]Â m-3)(close to 0.82Â [euro]Â m-3) in comparison with sprinkler irrigation systems (close to 0.36Â [euro]Â m-3).
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