Land, water and energy: the crossing of governance Articles uri icon

publication date

  • April 2021


  • 104403


  • 187

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0140-1963

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1095-922X


  • The paper focusses on the impact on dryland ecosystems of conflicting governance in the regulations of land use, water for irrigation and electric energy from photovoltaic installations (PV). The research uses the empirical results of a panel data model based on long time series that enable sensitivity of the main crops to energy cost and the viability of the solar panel system connected to the grid to be identified. We present evidence of the private and social benefits of investments in PV to improve the gross margin of farmers and decrease the carbon footprint of the irrigated areas. Relevant regional disparities in the sensitivity of the main crops explain the regional competition for low-cost water resources and the social conflicts associated with water governance. The Feed-In Tariff system for a PV system is evaluated as a tool to reach clean energy targets and preserve the populations working and living in irrigated drylands. An evaluation of the water desalination plants based on PV is analysed as an alternative to balance the hydric resources of intensive irrigated systems. The main conclusion is that coordinated regulation in energy and water policies may improve farmers' profitability and accelerate the speed in reaching environmental targets in drylands.


  • Economics


  • adaptation to climate change; fit tariffs; irrigation; photovoltaic systems; profitability of irrigated crops; regional gross margin