Socio-Economic Evaluation of the Terra Cha Irrigators Community by using a Geographic Information System - Spain

J J Cancela, X X Neira, T. S Cuesta, C. J Álvarez, R. Crecente

Abstract


This paper presents a method to acquire data before the improvement an irrigation
area. This method was applied to the irrigation management unit: the irrigators community.
The farms comprised in the area were analysed from a technical and socio-economic
perspective.
The first step in the proposed method was the design of a survey that included 59
questions, grouped into 9 sections, according to subject: title, ownership, water management,
irrigation, irrigators communities, cultivation techniques, economic factors, sustainability, and
opinion. The present case study surveyed 193 farms, divided into three sectors by the National
Colonization Institute (NCI) according to different features. The survey returned several
variables that established population groups for further analysis, among which farming
activity and monthly income. In addition, a Geographic Information System (GIS) was
developed to represent and analyse water management.
The main result of this study was the knowledge of the current situation in the studied
irrigation area. Earlier studies did not have such an ambitious objective. The integration of the
results of the survey into GIS verified farm specialization and spatial clustering in the zones
with the best environmental features. Some knowledge of the area is required to interpret the
descriptives of the variables contained in the survey because the opinion answers were biased.
The Geographic Information System developed in this study supports decision-making
during the irrigation modernisation process. GIS serves as a basis for future implementation of
a model of sustainable water management. The use of GIS was very useful in other irrigation
areas, especially in programmes of advice to irrigators and in programmes of management of
irrigators communities.

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