Measuring Irrigation Subsidies in Spain: An application of the GSI Method for quantifying subsidies

By Alberto Garrido, Javier Calatrava on August 5, 2010

This report provides a starting point for a debate on the use of irrigation subsidies in Spain.

Using the GSI's Method for quantifying irrigation subsidies (PDF - 624 KB), the report found subsidies to irrigated agriculture are in the range of €900 to €1120 million per year. More than half of those subsidies finance the modernization and rehabilitation of water distribution infrastructures in irrigated districts to allow for water savings. Water supply subsidies in Spain do not differ significantly from those granted in other EU and OECD countries: in general, subsidization of irrigation water supply relates to the capital costs of supplying surface water. Capital costs of abstraction, storage, transportation and distribution of surface water are partly subsidized and the full costs are not recovered from users. In general, supply costs are not recorded and compiled with the notion of generating accurate assessments of the actual costs for specific activities. Information about specific payments made to contractors along the life cycle of a project is not available. The study also found that the Spanish government should consider establishing legislation requiring water authorities to publicly provide information on water costs, revenues and subsidies in a more organized and usable manner. This would include establishing a minimum level of information to be provided, an adequate level of disaggregation, a methodology to be used to develop it, and the formats in which information would be presented. It also highlights the need to develop sound replicable methods for measuring and quantifying subsidies.

Report details

IISD, 2010