Person: De Stefano, Lucia
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Faculty / Institute
Geodinámica, Estratigrafía y Paleontología
Now showing 1 - 10 of 27
PublicationMulti-level interactions in a context of political decentralization and evolving water-policy goals: the case of Spain(Springer, 2018-08) De Stefano, Lucia; Hernandez-Mora, NuriaSpain is a highly decentralized country where water governance is a multi-level institutional endeavor requiring effective intergovernmental coordination—in terms of objectives and actions. The paper revisits the evolution of vertical and horizontal intergovernmental interactions in Spain, with a special focus on four interregional river basins. We build on a historical analysis of the evolution of water governance institutions, a mapping of existing interactions over water, careful document analysis, and interviews with selected public officials that are at the interface between the political and the technical spheres. Intergovernmental interaction occurs through different mechanisms that are slowly evolving to adapt to new challenges posed by changing power dynamics and water policy goals. Since the start of political decentralization in 1978, key institutional reforms within and outside of the water sector have opened windows of opportunity for regions to seek new spheres of influence and power. Disputes over water allocation, environmental flows, inter-basin transfers, and even basin boundaries delineation emerge as an expression of a struggle over power distribution between the regions and the central government. The physical and institutional geography of water and diverging visions and priorities (over water and beyond) are among the factors that contribute to shape conflict and cooperation in intergovernmental relations over water. PublicationAn overview of groundwater resources in Spain(CRC Press, 2012-10-15) De Stefano, Lucia; Martínez-Cortina, Luis; Chico, DanielIn Spain, as in most arid and semiarid countries, during the last half century the silent revolution of intensive groundwater use has provided important socio-economic benefits. Nonetheless, traditionally water management has focused on surface water and has paid little attention to groundwater. The European Water Framework Directive (WFD) planning process has resulted in significant advancements in the knowledge of groundwater resources and their use in Spain. However, data on groundwater resources are still partially incomplete and an official countrywide overview of groundwater resources (and their uses) is still not available. At present the estimated groundwater demand is about 7,000 million m3/year, mainly for irrigation purposes. Intensive groundwater use has contributed to the degradation of this strategic resource, which is expected to be partially remediated by the WFD implementation. Previous studies in Andalusia found that in irrigated agriculture groundwater use was economically more productive than surface water. This was attributed to a series of factors, chiefly groundwater resilience to long dry spells, and it was suggested that this could apply also to other regions in Spain. The data presented in this chapter seem to question this former idea, since no clear correlation could be found between the source of water and its apparent water productivity in irrigated agriculture. This is an issue that merits further study, including combining local and country-wide data to refine the calculations. PublicationManaging hydroclimatic risks in federal rivers: a diagnostic assessment(London: The Royal Society Publishing, 2013-11-13) Garrick, Dustin; De Stefano, Lucia; Fung, Fai; Pittock, Jamie; Schlager, Edella; New, Mark; Connell, DanielHydroclimatic risks and adaptive capacity are not distributed evenly in large river basins of federal countries, where authority is divided across national and territorial governments. Transboundary river basins are a major test of federal systems of governance because key management roles exist at all levels. This paper examines the evolution and design of interstate water allocation institutions in semi-arid federal rivers prone to drought extremes, climatic variability and intensified competition for scarce water. We conceptualize, categorize and compare federal rivers as social–ecological systems to analyse the relationship between governance arrangements and hydroclimatic risks. A diagnostic approach is used to map over 300 federal rivers and classify the hydroclimatic risks of three semi-arid federal rivers with a long history of interstate allocation tensions: the Colorado River (USA/Mexico), Ebro River (Spain) and Murray–Darling River (Australia). Case studies review the evolution and design of water allocation institutions. Three institutional design trends have emerged: adoption of proportional interstate allocation rules; emergence of multi-layered river basin governance arrangements for planning, conflict resolution and joint monitoring; and new flexibility to adjust historic allocation patterns. Proportional allocation rules apportion water between states based on a share of available water, not a fixed volume or priority. Interstate allocation reform efforts in the Colorado and Murray–Darling rivers indicate that proportional allocation rules are prevalent for upstream states, while downstream states seek reliable deliveries of fixed volumes to increase water security. River basin governance arrangements establish new venues for multilayered planning, monitoring and conflict resolution to balance self governance by users and states with basin-wide coordination. Flexibility to adjust historic allocation agreements, without risk of defection or costly court action, also provides adaptive capacity to manage climatic variability and shifting values. Future research should develop evidence about pathways to adaptive capacity in different classes of federal rivers, while acknowledging limits to transferability and the need for context-sensitive design. PublicationLearning from experience: a systematic review of assessments of vulnerability to drought(Springer, 2016-01) González Tánago, Itziar; Urquijo, Julia; Blauhut, Veit; Villarroya Gil, Fermín; De Stefano, LuciaIn the last decades, there have been an increasing number of vulnerability studies undertaken in the frameworks of several schools of thought and disciplines. This spur of activity is linked to the growing awareness about the importance of shifting from a crisis-reactive approach to a proactive and preventive risk-management approach to deal with natural disasters. The severity of the impacts that drought provokes worldwide has also contributed to raise awareness about the need to improve its management. In this context, drought vulnerability assessments are the first step in the identification of underlying causes that generate drought impacts. This paper presents a systematic review of past assessments of vulnerability to drought, to enhance the understanding of vulnerability and help orientating future research in this field. Results suggest that there are important geographical and thematic gaps to be filled in the assessment of drought vulnerability. Transparency in the design and validation of results should be improved, while the availability of relevant, reliable, and updated data is still a major constraint at all levels. PublicationWater planning and management after the EU Water Framework Directive(CRC Press, 2012) De Stefano, Lucia; Hernandez-Mora, Nuria; De Stefano, Lucia; Llamas, RamónThis chapter provides an overview of the different legal, administrative and economic factors that provide the institutional context for water management in Spain, focusing on the effects of the 2000 European Water Framework Directive (WFD). At present and partially due to the WFD implementation process, the Spanish water sector is experiencing a slow transition from old to new water paradigms. Highlights in this sense are the consideration of the achievement of ecological quality as a primary planning and management objective; an increase in public participation and transparency in water-related decision processes; the economic analysis of water services; and an increased emphasis on water demand management. The achievement of the WFD objectives faces several challenges and uncertainties that are of technical, financial and political nature. However, possibly the key to a successful implementation of the WFD and a real shift of paradigm lays in strengthening the link between land use and water management and in creating institutional structures that facilitate co-responsibility and full cooperation between the central state and the regions, who hold most of the responsibilities on land use management. PublicationManaging the Cascading Risks of Droughts: Institutional Adaptation in Transboundary River Basins(Wiley, 2018-06) Garrick, Dustin E.; Schlager, Edella; De Stefano, Lucia; Villamayor-Tomas, SergioTransboundary river basins experience complex coordination challenges during droughts. The multiscale nature of drought creates potential for spillovers when upstream adaptation decisions have cascading impacts on downstream regions. This paper advances the institutional analysis and development (IAD) framework to examine drought adaptation decision‐making in a multijurisdictional context. We integrate concepts of risk management into the IAD framework to characterize drought across its natural and human dimensions. A global analysis identifies regions where severe droughts combine with institutional fragmentation to require coordinated adaptation. We apply the risk‐based IAD framework to examine drought adaptation in the Rio Bravo/Grande—an archetypical transboundary river shared by the United States and Mexico and by multiple states within each country. The analysis draws on primary data and a questionnaire with 50 water managers in four distinct, yet interlinked, “institutional catchments,” which vary in terms of their drought characteristics, socioeconomic attributes, and governance arrangements. The results highlight the heterogeneity of droughts and uneven distribution of their impacts due to the interplay of drought hazards and institutional fragmentation. Transboundary water sharing agreements influence the types and sequence of interactions between upstream and downstream jurisdictions, which we describe as spillovers that involve both conflict and cooperation. Interdependent jurisdictions often draw on informal decision‐making venues (e.g., data sharing, operational decisions) due to the higher transaction costs and uncertainty associated with courts and planning processes, yet existing coordination and conflict resolution venues have proven insufficient for severe, sustained droughts. Observatories will be needed to measure and manage the cascading risks of drought. PublicationMaking concrete flexible: Adapting the operating rules of the Cantareira water system (São Paulo, Brazil)(Elsevier, 2019-08) De Souza Leão, Renata; De Stefano, LuciaThe Cantareira system is a network of reservoirs located in the inland region of São Paulo State. In 1974 it started operating to bring water from a sparsely populated region – the headwaters of the Piracicaba, Capivari, and Jundiaí (PCJ) rivers – to a densely inhabited and fast-growing region – the São Paulo Metropolitan Region (SPMR). Since then, the operating rules of the Cantareira system have been revised and renegotiated twice, in 2004 and 2017, to better respond to technical challenges and changing political, legal and institutional conditions. The article presents the evolution of the water allocation rules, its drivers and how it has reflected in the regional sharing of the benefits provided by the water transfer. This case showcases that also infrastructure-based allocations can be dynamic and adaptable to face new challenges, but the room for maneuver for changing the configuration of benefit sharing is limited. PublicationThe role of ethics in water and food security: Balancing utilitarian and intangible values(World Water Council, 2012-03) López-Gunn, Elena; De Stefano, Lucia; Llamas, RamónIn the past two decades, the world has experienced deep changes in terms of globalization of goods and people, the emergence of new economic powers, political turmoil, and a sustained growth of an increasingly urban global population. These and other factors have deep implications for global water and food security, and make discussion of ethical values – often implicit in global debates – more pertinent. An understanding of the ethical issues underlying water and food security is key to formulating solutions that truly contribute to their achievement. This is particularly true when considering that water and food security is strongly intertwined with human security and environmental security, and these cannot be addressed separately. This paper argues that solving water and food problems is not only a technical challenge but also a problem of fundamental ethical values and political will. It showcases three technological advances (desalination, information technology, and modern groundwater abstraction technology) and one concept (virtual water) that could contribute to secure water and food for a growing population, thus shedding light on the lack of concerted political will to face global and water food securities. In this context, trade has the potential to help countries manage water security in a globalized world, provided that global trade is revisited and undergoes a process of deep reform in the light of ethical considerations. Water and food are not isolated from general socio-economic and political trends. Therefore the drivers resulting in the present economic crisis also affect water and food, and add further complexity to the search for solutions. PublicationDo treaties matter? Climate change, water variability, and cooperation along transboundary river basins(Elsevier, 2019-03) Dinar, Shlomi; Katz, David; De Stefano, Lucia; Blankespoor, BrianAnnual and seasonal water variability is predicted to intensify due to climate change. River basins lacking institutional capacity, such as treaties, to deal with environmental change may experience political tensions. Using the 1948–2008 country dyads event data from the Basins at Risk project, this paper investigates whether basins governed by treaties witness less tensions and/or more cooperation over shared water relative to those basins not governed by treaties. It also evaluates basins pre- and post-treaty enactment. The results provide only limited support for the claim that the presence of a treaty does in fact promote cooperation, but provide stronger support for the claim that the number of agreements between riparians enhances cooperation particularly when taking into consideration water variability. This variable is significantly and positively correlated with increased cooperation – a finding that is robust across different specifications controlling for a broad set of climatic, geographic, political, and economic variables. This may indicate that successive treaties successfully address some of the shortcomings of their predecessors. Importantly, when disaggregating conflictive and cooperative events, the research does not find support for the claim that treaties or number of treaties reduce conflict. This may highlight the importance of the need to treat conflict and cooperation individually and not simply as opposite poles of a single spectrum. PublicationIntensively irrigated agriculture in the north-west of Doñana(CRC Press, 2013) Rodríguez, Jerónimo; De Stefano, Lucia; De Stefano, Lucia; Llamas, RamónThe Doñana region in southwestern Spain is one of the largest and most complex natural systems in western Europe. Groundwater resources constitute a key component of its natural processes and a fundamental input for the intensive irrigated agriculture that began in the 1970s and it is now one of the most important economic drivers in the region. This agricultural activity and its associated groundwater use affects the hydrological cycle of the Doñana both in terms of quality and quantity and puts pressure on its sensitive ecosystems. Since the 1990s, several initiatives were undertaken to find a balance between socio-economic development and nature conservation and avoid reaching a deadlock situation. The complex nature of the resource system, the presence of unauthorized extractions, unsolved ownership issues and a fragmented institutional structure hinder the establishment of a sustainable resource use regime.