Towards water security and sustainable water management in Spain. Overview of water policy results in 2016 and lines of work for the future

Liana Sandra Ardiles, Director General of Water, Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Environment

Overview of 2016

With respect to water management, 2016 was characterised by continuity in the lines of work developed in 2015 and preceding years: river basin planning, environmental protection of water ecosystems, attending to demand for water, enhancement of public domain water, reinforcement of security of water infrastructures and progress in international cooperation.

The year began with the publication in January of the Royal Decrees ratifying the second cycle river basin management plans, with the exception of the Canary Islands and the Catalonian Internal River Basin Districts. These river basin management plans lay the foundations for a water policy which is not only up-to-date with respect to compliance deadlines set out in the Water Framework Directive (WFD), but also sets a roadmap for the development of a water policy with perfectly defined and balanced targets to achieve an equilibrium between the environmental protection of ecosystems and meeting demand for water.

The programmes of measures associated with these plans are duly coordinated with the Flood Risk Management Plans (FRMP), also published in 2016, as well as with the measures associated with the special drought plans. They reinforce the capacity for prevention and reaction of public water authorities to the two main extreme hydro-meteorological phenomena facing our country year after year: floods and droughts.

Moreover, the ratification of these plans enables compliance with the obligations assumed by Spain within the framework of the Partnership Agreement with the EU for the forthcoming European Funds period. 2016 saw the commencement of the execution of the programmes of measures of these plans (over 10,000 measures to be executed to achieve the proposed objectives, with envisaged investment of €2,500 million up to 2021). At the same time, in accordance with the provisions of the WFD, the process for the review and preparation of the third cycle of river basin management plans was initiated.

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FuturENVIRO #39 Abril 2017