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unreliable and fragile resource that should only be developed if the conventional large surface water projects are not feasible. This groundwater resource fragility concept has been dominant in Spain during the last 20 years (Lopez-Gunn and Llamas, 2000). In the last decade a good number of authors have also voiced this fragility as a common issue (Seckler et al., 1998; Postel, 1999).

Another usual wrong paradigm or hydromyth is the idea that mining nonrenewable groundwater is by definition a case of overexploitation, which implies that groundwater mining goes against basic ecological and ethical principles. Some authors (Delli Priscoli and Llamas, 2001; Abderraman, 2003) have shown that in some cases the use of non-renewable groundwater may be a reasonable option. This point of view has been approved by the UNESCO World Commission on the Ethics of Science and Technology (COMEST), as can be read in Selborne (2000).

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