This paper provides and tests a methodology to compute surface water (SW) availability for irrigation on regulated systems at large scale, considering different alternatives of streamflow monthly time series derived from regional climate models. SW availability for consumptive use for a river basin is estimated through the concept of maximum potential water withdrawal (MPWW). MPWW is defined as the maximum demand that can be supplied at a given point in the river network under certain conditions: management restrictions (such as ecological flows), demand priorities, monthly distribution of demand and required reliability. Calculation was applied in 567 basins that cover the entirety of mainland Spain to evaluate adaptation needs for agriculture by comparing MPWW for irrigation in the current situation and under climate change projections. The results show that streamflow monthly time series obtained from the regional climate model simulations and bias corrected by University of New Hampshire/Global Runoff Data Centre (UNH/GRDC) dataset and Schreiber's formula provide MPWW values similar to those obtained with the observed data under current situations. Under climate change projections, the capability to satisfy water requirements for agricultural production is significantly reduced and adaptation measures are necessary to mitigate the expected long-term impact.

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