De Stefano, Lucia

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First Name
Last Name
De Stefano
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Faculty / Institute
Ciencias Geológicas
Geodinámica, Estratigrafía y Paleontología
Geodinámica Externa
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Now showing 1 - 10 of 40
  • Publication
    Multi-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, Nuria
    Spain 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.
  • Publication
    A machine learning model to assess the ecosystem response to water policy measures in the Tagus River Basin (Spain)
    (Elsevier, 2021-01) Valerio, Carlotta; De Stefano, Lucia; Martínez Muñoz, Gonzalo; Garrido, Alberto
    Anthropogenic activities are seriously endangering the conservation of biodiversity worldwide, calling for urgent actions to mitigate their impact on ecosystems. We applied machine learning techniques to predict the response of freshwater ecosystems to multiple anthropogenic pressures, with the goal of informing the definition of water policy targets and management measures to recover and protect aquatic biodiversity. Random Forest and Gradient Boosted Regression Trees algorithms were used for the modelling of the biological indices of macroinvertebrates and diatoms in the Tagus river basin (Spain). Among the anthropogenic stressors considered as explanatory variables, the categories of land cover in the upstream catchment area and the nutrient concentrations showed the highest impact on biological communities. The model was then used to predict the biological response to different nutrient concentrations in river water, with the goal of exploring the effect of different regulatory thresholds on the ecosystem status. Specifically, we considered the maximum nutrient concentrations set by the Spanish legislation, as well as by the legislation of other European Union Member States. According to our model, the current nutrient thresholds in Spain ensure values of biological indices consistent with the good ecological status in only about 60% of the total number of water bodies. By applying more restrictive nutrient concentrations, the number of water bodies with biological indices in good status could increase by almost 40%. Moreover, coupling more restrictive nutrient thresholds with measures that improve the riparian habitat yields up to 85% of water bodies with biological indices in good status, thus proving to be a key approach to restore the status of the ecosystem.
  • Publication
    An overview of groundwater resources in Spain
    (CRC Press, 2012-10-15) De Stefano, Lucia; Martínez-Cortina, Luis; Chico, Daniel
    In 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.
  • Publication
    Lessons from the 2018–2019 European droughts: a collective need for unifying drought risk management
    (European Geosciences Union, 2022-06-29) Blauhut, Veit; Stoelzle, Michael; Ahopelto, Lauri; Brunner, Manuela I.; Teutschbein, Claudia; Wendt, Doris E.; Akstinas, Vytautas; Bakke, Sigrid J.; Barker, Lucy J.; Bartošová, Lenka; Briede, Agrita; Cammalleri, Carmelo; Kalin, Ksenija Cindrić; De Stefano, Lucia; Fendeková, Miriam; Finger, David C.; Huysmans, Marijke; Ivanov, Mirjana; Jaagus, Jaak; Jakubínský, Jiří; Krakovska, Svitlana; Laaha, Gregor; Lakatos, Monika; Manevsk, Kiril; Andersen, Mathias Neumann; Nikolova, Nina; Osuch, Marzena; Oel, Pieter van; Radeva, Kalina; Romanowicz, Renata J.; Toth, Elena; Trnka, Mirek; Trofimova, Iryna; Van Loon, Anne F.; Vliet, Michelle T. H. van; Vidal, Jean-Philippe; Wanders, Niko; Werner, Micha; Willems, Patrick; Živković, Nenad
    Drought events and their impacts vary spatially and temporally due to diverse pedo-climatic and hydrologic conditions, as well as variations in exposure and vulnerability, such as demographics and response actions. While hazard severity and frequency of past drought events have been studied in detail, little is known about the effect of drought management strategies on the actual impacts and how the hazard is perceived by relevant stakeholders. In a continental study, we characterised and assessed the impacts and the perceptions of two recent drought events (2018 and 2019) in Europe and examined the relationship between management strategies and drought perception, hazard, and impact. The study was based on a pan-European survey involving national representatives from 28 countries and relevant stakeholders responding to a standard questionnaire. The survey focused on collecting information on stakeholders' perceptions of drought, impacts on water resources and beyond, water availability, and current drought management strategies on national and regional scales. The survey results were compared with the actual drought hazard information registered by the European Drought Observatory (EDO) for 2018 and 2019. The results highlighted high diversity in drought perception across different countries and in values of the implemented drought management strategies to alleviate impacts by increasing national and sub-national awareness and resilience. The study identifies an urgent need to further reduce drought impacts by constructing and implementing a European macro-level drought governance approach, such as a directive, which would strengthen national drought management and mitigate damage to human and natural assets.
  • Publication
    Managing 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, Daniel
    Hydroclimatic 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.
  • Publication
    Learning 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, Lucia
    In 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.
  • Publication
    Water planning and management after the EU Water Framework Directive
    (CRC Press, 2012) De Stefano, Lucia; Hernandez-Mora, Nuria; De Stefano, Lucia; Llamas, Ramón
    This 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.
  • Publication
    Managing the Cascading Risks of Droughts: Institutional Adaptation in Transboundary River Basins
    (Wiley, 2018-06) Garrick, Dustin E.; Schlager, Edella; De Stefano, Lucia; Villamayor-Tomas, Sergio
    Transboundary 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.
  • Publication
    Making concrete flexible: Adapting the operating rules of the Cantareira water system (São Paulo, Brazil)
    (Elsevier, 2019-08) De Souza Leão, Renata; De Stefano, Lucia
    The 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.
  • Publication
    The 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, Ramón
    In 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.