Networks of action situations in point-source pollution: the case of winery wastewater in Aragon, Spain

Cazcarro, Ignacio, Sergio Villamayor-Tomas, Maria Pilar Lobera, Joaquín Murría, and Bernechea, María (2023). “Networks of Action Situations in Point-Source Pollution: The Case of Winery Wastewater in Aragon, Spain.” Sustainability Science 18(1):201–18. doi: 10.1007/s11625-022-01273-1.

In this article, we offer an analysis of point-source water pollution governance in the European agri-food sector. Specifically, we tackle the case study of the wine industry in Aragon (Spain) through the lenses of the networks of action situations approach. We unveil key strategic decisions of wine producers in relation to compliance with water discharge regulations and explore the feasibility and effectiveness of potential solutions. According to our quantitative and qualitative analyses, the problem of peak load discharges in the sector can be explained by the strategic behavior of wine producers in the context of enforcement deficits, as well as by particularities of the wine production process, and controversies around the construction and management of public treatment plants. Coordination among wine producers and public treatment plant managers to invest in in-house treatment infrastructure or to smooth discharges out so they fit the capacity of treatment plants would be a promising solution; however, economic incentives and tightened enforcement of discharge regulations would also be necessary.

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