Canales de riego de Cataluña y Reino de Valencia, leyes y costumbres que los rigen, reglamentos y ordenanzas de sus principales acequias
François Jaubert de Passa
Editor: Valencia, Imprenta de D. Benito Monfort
Year of edition: 1844
The Jaubert De Passa’s report of the trip to Catalonia and Valencia Kingdom, in 1816-1819, is a geographical and legal analysis of the Spanish Mediterranean Agriculture. The author was especially interested in the hydraulic infrastructures and in the autonomous institutions of the farmers. The collective practices were the result of centuries of experience of cooperation and conflict in local rural societies. He concluded that, for irrigation management, the technical aspects were as relevant as the organizational ones. Furthermore, he suggested to exchange technical knowledge and to study and imitate this complex productive model, based in the rotations of cereals and legumes, in the great variety of vegetables and in the collective self-organised water distribution.
The international success of this report in the mid-19th century helped to create the basis for a kind of mythology of the traditional irrigation system in Spain. This turned in an excellent and universal reference in terms of government and water management. During the 20th century, the leaders of the irrigation associations took advantage of the translation of the book, by de Economic Society of Valencia in 1844, to confirm their historical importance and long-standing effectiveness in the face of technical and institutional changes in agriculture.