The common agricultural policy in the upper guadiana: evolution of water resources and crops

Y. Sanjuan


There are clear links between supports from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the overexploitation of aquifers in the upper basin of the Guadiana River. Historically, European supports to agriculture have been linked to the production, which has resulted in the 169 municipalities in the study area, a strong trend towards the expansion of irrigation lands. The implementation of the Single Payment in 2003 implies a decoupling of production supports, going to charge the beneficiaries of supports a subsidy equal to the average of that perceived during the last three years, i.e. from 2003 payments are maintained even though production is zero. However, there are still many payments linked to production, known as coupled payments (primarily those associated with livestock, woody crops, arable crops and irrigated land). These are the ones with higher capacity to affect the environment, and therefore they are which have been considered in this study (except livestock, no directly related to overexploitation of aquifers). To make this paper, ArcGis program has been used, superimposing or comparing different thematic layers: Protected areas, overexploited aquifers and vulnerable areas to nitrates pollution in the Upper Guadiana, the percentage of irrigated hectares in several municipalities, the irrigated area devoted to arable crops and woody crops, and finally support levels of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in each of the selected sectors and for each of the municipalities in the Upper Guadiana in 2009. It is noteworthy that the municipalities with the highest percentage of irrigated area, especially vineyard, receive higher levels of subsidies, despite of using water from overexploited aquifers. In contrast, supports to organic farming are scarce as compensation income from aquifers. This suggests that CAP subsides coupled to woody crops (mainly the vineyard) and herbaceous crops are detrimental for the environmental quality of the study area, especially water resources. As a positive factor it was found that a percentage of one of the two pillars of the CAP (EAFRD) is devoted for investment axes of Environment and Rural Development


water resources, overexploitation of aquifers, irrigated lands, Common Agricultural Policy, Upper Guadiana,


© Universidad de La Rioja, 2013

ISSN 0211-6820

EISSN 1697-9540