Water-energy-agriculture nexus in Gran Canaria

29 October 2019
Instalaciones del Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias en la Playa de Pozo Izquierdo – Santa Lucía

On 29 October 2019, policy makers, technicians, farmers and academics gathered at the ITC facilities in Southeast Gran Canaria to explore the challenges of using alternative water resources for agricultural purposes in the region. Participants deliberated on the current problems of using alternative water resources and their potential role in the pursuit of different future agriculture scenarios, namely:

  1. Continuing business as usual—what problems may be derived from the continuation of current situation in the future?
  2. Transformation of the current agricultural production model to a more diversified production connected to local trade circuits.
  3. Boosting agriculture in the Gran Canaria highlands by pumping alternative water resources from the coastland.

MAGIC’s quantitative story-telling approach was used, combining the analysis of narratives around alternative water resources and agriculture, a diagnostic quantification of the water-energy-food nexus of current farming systems, and a deliberative exploration of the viability and desirability of the above-described scenarios. Specific drivers, actions and actors that might push towards viable and desirable futures in the region were explored more in detail. For more details, see the powerpoint presentation shown at the meeting and the booklets for the three scenarions (scroll down to bottom of page to download). 

There was consensus among the participants on the importance of desalination and wastewater regeneration for recovering the good status of groundwater bodies of the island and at the same time providing water security to farmers. Groundwater is mostly used by large farming systems focused on exportation, but it is either desalinated or combined with desalinated water to improve its quality and prevent impacts on soil and crops. On the other hand, alternative resources enable the emergence of a new agricultural model based on small farm vegetable production for local markets. There was also consensus on water security being a necessary but not sufficient condition to solve agricultural problems and that new policies are needed to attend regional needs and ensure long-term economic viability. Finally, private markets of natural water sources play a key role in the existing picture and in the needs of highland agriculture and therefore their future is a cornerstone for rural development. How can alternative resources produced with renewable energy be viable in these conditions was an open question that needs further exploration.

The outcomes of the stakeholder engagement process have been documented in Spanish and English, the respective reports can be downloaded at the bottom of this page. 










Instalaciones del Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias en la Playa de Pozo Izquierdo – Santa Lucía

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