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Figure 15: Estimation of the reserves drained from Aquifer 04.04 since 1980 (IGME, 2004) and the area received in the Income Compensation Plan (PCR) according to the Regional Department of Agriculture of CLM (Consejería de Agricultura de la Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha).

Figure 15: Estimation of the reserves drained from Aquifer 04.04 since 1980 (IGME, 2004) and the area received in the Income Compensation Plan (PCR) according to the Regional Department of Agriculture of CLM (Consejería de Agricultura de la Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha).

In 2004, the PE established the following distribution of the 329 hm3 year-1 of renewable water resources in the HU of 04.04: 60 hm3 year-1 for the recovery of the aquifer, 30 hm3 year- for urban supplying, and the remaining 230 hm year- for irrigation. In this manner, the average endowment for any cultivation in the zone was 1,995 m3 ha-1 per year. Exceptionally, only 1,000 m ha- could be applied to vineyards. The PE of 2005, reduced extractions to 170 hm3 year-1 for agricultural activities. This led to pronounced backlash on the part of agrarian associations and farmers who eventually forced the CHG to authorize a greater volume of extraction for irrigation.

2.2.3 The Associations of Irrigators

Irrigators, of the three irrigable areas previously mentioned, are associated with respective associations. The Junta Central de Regantes de la Mancha Oriental (JCRMO) deserves the most attention due to its high level of involvement at all levels in the management of the UH 08.29. It is an example of true integral management of water resources, because farmers use 80% and consume 95% of the total of the water in the area.

La Junta Central de Regantes de La Mancha Oriental (JCRMO)

In 1995 the JCRMO was founded, and is legally defined as a Corporation of Public Right, adhering to the CHJ. All users of groundwater of the HU 08.29 are obligated to belong to the JCRMO.

The objectives of the JCRMO are essentially two: to manage water use, in collaboration with the CHJ, so that a sustainable use of the resources is achieved, and second, to represent and to defend the interests of its associates before the public and private authorities in terms of the way in which water is used. These tasks are structured in four large groups (Martin de Santa Olalla, 2001):

• To elaborate the Inventory of irrigated lands. The objective is to know what the water uses are in HU 08.29.

• To devise, along with the CHJ, the annual PE, to approve documents presented by farmers, and to carry out the tasks of control and monitoring of compliance.

• To define Units of Water Management (Unidades de Gestión Hídrica, UGH). In these units there is only one origin point of water supply for the irrigation of several plots (Fig. 16). For that reason, PE affects all of the area of the UGH, independently of the number of proprietors. On the other hand, one person can be included in several UGH.

• To determine along with the CHJ, the zones in which to implement the construction of infrastructure necessary for the replacement of groundwater by surface water. The PHJ anticipates that the replacement reaches 80 hm3 in all of the Aquifer. It is possible to increase this volume with part of the 65 hm3 planned to increase the volume for existing irrigated lands with scarce water availability and the establishment of new irrigated areas (PHJ, 1999). Of this volume, it is estimated that 32 hm3 can be designated to groundwater replacement (CHJ, 2004b).

3.1. Modernization of Irrigation

In Spain there were 1,810,000 ha of irrigated land prior to 1960. The current 735,000 ha of irrigable land, in which water is mainly distributed by ground irrigation channels, experience high water loss. In addition, 392,000 ha, over the 1,295,000 ha that distribute water by means of concrete canals, experience serious issues of conservation and maintenance. These irrigations were designed according to existing technology, utilizing

Figure 16: Example of a Unit of Water Management (UGH) (JCRMO).

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