The region of North-Western Doñana is a key recharge area for the Doñana marshlands, one of the most important wetlands in Europe. In this region, the balance between a traditional economy compatible with environmental conservation has been altered significantly as a result of a disruptive change: the development of intensive agriculture of red berries –locally known as the ‘red gold’-. The paper shows how a methodology based on remote sensing and GIS can provide a practical tool to identify and quantify intensive crops and especially, to determine their legal status. The paper describes this as an example of “geographic forensic science” for water governance, understood as a systematic method to gather and examine information on the territorial changes and events in the past with aim to use this information in law enforcement. The analysis shows how geospatial techniques can become an accessible and powerful tool for monitoring water abstractions and land use changes (public accountability), and to raise public participation and transparency, three key principles to advance towards a ‘lighter side’ of governance. Keywords: Forensic science, remote sensing, GIS, legal use of water, intensive agriculture.

doi.org/10.7564/14-IJWG62
International Journal of Water Governance

Martíneza, M.B, Lopez-Gunn, E, & Del Caño, L.V. (2014). Forensic water governance? Analyzing land and water use changes in North-Western Doñana (Spain). International Journal of Water Governance, 2014(2-3), 133–152. doi:10.7564/14-IJWG62