How to Close the Gap of Desalinated Seawater for Agricultural Irrigation? Confronting Attitudes between Managers and Farmers in Alicante and Murcia (Spain)
Although desalination water cost and quality standards have been widely studied, less attention has been paid to understanding how desalination plant managers and irrigation communities interact to address water scarcity. This paper aims to approach these questions from experience in Alicante and Murcia (Spain). Two specific questionnaires have been applied to (1) three desalination plants managed by the Spanish public company ACUAMED, and (2) 11 irrigation communities who use desalinated
... e desalinated seawater. Discursive analysis has been applied in order to deepen understanding on the driving factors, benefits, and barriers of desalination use and management. Results highlighted how (1) irrigation communities consider desalination as a complementary water source to be combined with conventional water resources, (2) both ACUAMED and irrigation communities highlighted two main advantages of desalination: the security/guarantee of supply and water quality parameters, and (3) managers and irrigators disagree on the desalination model of seawater provision and management, since irrigators consider that the Central Union of the Tajo-Segura transfer irrigators (SCRATS) should have a leading role. In addition, the main driving factors and barriers useful for policy makers when closing the gap of desalination have been identified: water price and energy consumption; lack of water storage capacity and regulation; environmental impacts.