The efficient irrigated area in Spain stands at 2,943,088 hectares, 77% of the total area.
75% of Andalusian irrigated land is under localized irrigation, while the national average is 51%.
The irrigated area in Spain reached 3,831,181 hectares in 2020 and remained practically stable, with an increase of 0.06% compared to 2019 (3,828,747 ha) and an increase of 1.5% compared to 2018 (3,774,286 ha), according to data from the Survey of Surface Areas and Crop Yields in Spain (ESYRCE), from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
In this context, the most efficient irrigation systems account for nearly 77% of the irrigated area, with 2,943,088 ha, of which 2,058,322 ha correspond to the localized irrigation system and 884,766 ha to the group consisting of sprinkler and self-propelled irrigation. On the other hand, another 888,094 ha are still irrigated by gravity.
By autonomous communities, the Canary Islands is the community with the largest irrigated crop area in relation to its surface area, followed by the Valencian Community, Region of Murcia, Catalonia and Andalusia. The Autonomous Communities with the largest total irrigated area are the Region of Murcia, Andalusia and the Community of Valencia.
In relation to crops, in the vegetable group, the localized irrigation system stands out, with 52.15 %, which includes the greenhouse area. In this group, sprinkler irrigation (21.51%), self-propelled irrigation (14.22%) and gravity irrigation (12.13%) are also relevant.
The system that has grown the most in recent years has been localized irrigation (26.37 %), implemented on 429,617 new hectares since 2010. This evolution towards localized irrigation is consistent with the policies developed in recent years to achieve a more sustainable agriculture through a more efficient use of water.
Among the most irrigated woody crops is the almond tree, which has almost tripled its irrigated area since 2015 due to the boom in the implementation of this crop.
This study updates the analysis of Spanish agricultural irrigation to the period 2010-2020, whose results allow characterizing the irrigation system/type in Spain. On the one hand, the relationship between the irrigation system in relation to the different agricultural sectors is established and, on the other hand, the distribution of these irrigation systems in the autonomous communities is studied.
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