A ten years old Water Partnership of the Ebro river

In June 2012, the Association of Agricultural Engineers of Aragon, Navarra and the Basque Country convened the first meeting of the Working Committee on Water and Food Security. The meeting was attended by a group of professionals from different institutions related to irrigated agriculture. Throughout that year, the Commission shaped up a multidisciplinary and transversal forum, and in February 2013 the Ebro Water Partnership was created. At that time, the Partnership had representatives from the Associations of Agricultural Engineers and Technical Agricultural Engineers, researchers, general water users associations, agricultural professional organizations and foundations. The RAMA group was involved in the Partnership from the very beginning. The objectives of the Partnership are:

  1. Promote institutional innovation at the service of water governance;
  2. Foster leadership and transparency, publicizing and valuing good practices at different levels;
  3. Promote institutional change and social change, and be a think tank for opportunities for action in Ebro water;
  4. Value cooperation, collective action of users and decentralization above competition, market and public intervention.
  5. Promote the involvement of civil society through new ideas for governance, the responsible participation of users, the contrast of different approaches, opinions and interests, as well as cooperation and innovation.
The Partnership logo.

In its first years of existence, the Partnership held dissemination and awareness days about water in the Ebro basin, and expressed consensus opinions on hot issues, mainly on organizational and regulatory aspects of irrigation water in the Ebro. The Development Plan Rural made it possible to expand the activities of the Partnership by seizing funds for research and innovation projects. During the 2017-2021 period, the “Ebro-Aragón Water Partnership I” project led to relevant progress:

  1. Creation of an irrigation geodatabase.
  2. Proposal for a methodology to classify irrigation.
  3. Classification of the irrigated lands of the Ebro-Aragón.
  4. Development of a database of good agricultural practices related to water in agriculture.
  5. Preparation of a report on investments in irrigation modernization in Aragon throughout the 21st century.

Currently, the “Ebro-Aragón Basin Water Partnership II” project is being executed. This project continues with funding from the Rural Development Plan. The project has the following partners: General Water Users Association of Alto Aragón, Association of Agricultural Engineers of Aragón, Navarra and the Basque Country, Association of Technical Engineers and Agricultural Experts of Aragón, the Union of Farmers and Ranchers of Aragón (UAGA -COAG), the General Water Users Association of the Canal Imperial de Aragón, as well as researchers from the RAMA group in CITA – Government of Aragón and EEAD – CSIC. CITA acts as coordinator of the project.

This project is structured in three laboratories:

  1. Good agricultural water management practices, focusing activity on governance issues. Offering solutions in the legal-social field for the different types of irrigation.
  2. Analysis and prospective of the irrigation infrastructures in Aragon, particularly in the environmental aspects of irrigation.
  3. Communication on irrigation in the Ebro-Aragón. Applying the Living Lab methodology.

Project deliverables provide information on the updating of irrigation cartography, the analysis of water governance models in irrigation, and their relationship with the modernization of infrastructures or the classification of irrigable areas due to diffuse contamination risk. In addition, tasks are being carried out to disseminate results and promote good practices in irrigation water management. One of the key activities of the Partnership is the Conbrebia Belaisca awards. You can check the awards ceremony for the first edition and the call for candidates of the second edition at this link.

The Partnership met today at the CITA headquarters. In the meeting, the definition of the communication strategy was completed, the deliverable on water governance models in the Ebro-Aragón irrigation areas was discussed for the last time, and the update of irrigation cartography was reviewed. Progress has been made in the publication of the geodatabase on the Partnership website and future dissemination sessions have been discussed.

After ten years of activity, the Partnership continues to contribute to the discussion on the use of water in the Ebro Valley, generating multi-stakeholder visions and contributing with technical products to social discussion.

Most Partnership members gathering at the CITA headquarters on April 12, 2023.

More information at the Partnership web page: https://www.aguadelebro.es/