217834 Territorial Inequalities and Convergence in Water Policy: The Spanish Case

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

José Luis Navarro Espigares, PhD, Prof, Mgr , Economic Department, University Hospital Virgen de las Nieves, Granada, Spain
José Aureliano Martín Segura, PhD, Prof , Department of Management, Granada University, Ceuta, Spain
Pedro González de la Flor, MD, PhD , Preventive Medicine Department, University General Hospital of Jaén, Jaén, Spain
Elisa Hernandez Torres , Management Control, University Hospital Virgen de las Nieves, Granada, Spain
Numerous investigations have shown that water quality affects social justice. Therefore, the quality of water should be the same in all territories of a country. Statistically significant differences in Spain have been verified regarding some variables that determine water quality. Regional differences of these variables could be regarded as a source of divergence in population health.

In this paper we analyze the evolution of the observed regional differences. Seven variables related to water quality have been studied: treated wastewater, treated wastewater disposal, reclaimed wastewater, water supplies, household water supplies, water supplies for other uses, and the percentage of water lost in distribution. The Spanish National Institute of Statistics is the data source and the time period covered is 1999-2006. Besides the descriptive analysis of the variables, we apply the concepts of beta and sigma convergence, which both derive from the economic literature related to economic growth.

The results show that all variables demonstrate beta-convergence. However, the methodological change that occurred in 2004 made it impossible for the reduction in the dispersion over time for all variables to be verified. In particular we observed very weak convergence in the volume of treated wastewater and reclaimed water. Stronger convergence appears in the volume of water supply, especially in the case of supply for other uses.

Despite the convergence, there are also substantial differences among regions. Consequently, further development is needed in consolidating the process of reducing regional disparities in water quality as a complementary way of reducing inequalities in health.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
- To analyze regional disparities in Spanish water policy. - To evaluate beta and sigma convergence in Spanish regions. - To compare the trend of variables related to wastewater treatment and water consumption

Keywords: Water Quality, Environmental Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I work as a lecturer in the Applied Economics Department (University of Granada, Spain). I also work as a financial manager in the University Hospital Virgen de las Nieves (Granada, Spain), where I am responsible for a chapter in the Annual Sustainability Report.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.