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Water security determines social attitudes about dams and reservoirs in South Europe
Scientific Reports, Volume: 12, Issue: 1
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River barriers affect river dynamics and aquatic biota, altering the entire ecosystem. Nevertheless, dams and reservoirs provide goods like water supply and low-carbon energy that are becoming increasingly critical under current climate change. To know to what extent dams and reservoirs are importan...
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River barriers affect river dynamics and aquatic biota, altering the entire ecosystem. Nevertheless, dams and reservoirs provide goods like water supply and low-carbon energy that are becoming increasingly critical under current climate change. To know to what extent dams and reservoirs are important to the population, we explored social attitudes towards dams and reservoirs using a face-to-face questionnaire in two regions of contrasting climate and water security in Spain, a country with one of highest densities of dams in Europe. Results (N = 613) revealed a higher support for dams, mediated by the recognition of the services they provide, in the drier Mediterranean Malaga province (Andalusia), than in the wetter Atlantic Asturias province (Bay of Biscay), where water shortages are rare. Awareness of the impacts of the dams was more pronounced in Malaga, coupled with a higher willingness to pay for reconnecting rivers. Social awareness of both impacts and services provided by dams and reservoirs may depend on local climate and water security; different dam acceptance emphasizes the need to involve local citizens in the decision-making processes about water management.
College of Science
This project has been funded from the European H2020 Framework Program, Contract 689682 AMBER.