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Adaptation strategies of the hydrosocial cycles in the Mediterranean regions

The Spanish regions located in the Mediterranean have been affected by several factors over the years (climatic conditions of aridity, strong demands, quick and intense urban and population growth) that have generated a negative water balance in which water contributions are unable to meet the demands. This problem is aggravated by future scenarios estimated as a consequence of climate change, which predicts a decrease in precipitation and an increase in temperature and frequency of maximum events. The aim of this work is to evaluate the adaptation strategies that have been conducted in these cities in order to adjust their hydrosocial cycles to development, as well as new actions that are being implemented in order to mitigate the effects of climate change. Diversification of supply sources has been one of the keys to this evolution, using both own and external resources. These adaptive measures have made the search for new supply sources a necessity, stimulating the expansion and integration of non-conventional water sources (desalination and reuse of reclaimed water). Likewise new strategies, such as the implementation of sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS), seem to gain positions in the water planning of these regions. The theoretical analysis developed in this work is corroborated by the study of the hydrosocial cycle evolution of three cities of the province of Alicante (southeast Spain), and the adaptive measures that the different actors involved in the cycle have developed in each one of them. The input and output are considered in this system thanks to the information provided by the management companies in each of the phases (urban consumption, treated and reused volumes). The results obtained evidence the complexity of this hybrid socio-natural process where water and society influence each other and where an adequate planning is essential in order to overcome new scenarios.

Keywords: Hydrosocial cycles; climate change; adaptive measures; non-conventional resources; SuDS