A freely available data set about Andalusian irrigation communities was comprehensively analyzed and combined with a local time series of precipitation and temperature data and put into historical context. Andalusia’s annual precipitation lies between 150 and1000 mm*yr-1. Due to the high seasonal and inter-annual variability of precipitation, irrigation measures are a necessity to enable intensive cultivation. The largely prevailing water scarcities are one likely reason for the evolution and continuation of water cooperations practicing irrigation strategies that have probably existed since Roman times, certainly since Islamic times. This study gives an overview of water management practices in Andalusia and highlights the Vega of Vélez Blanco (NE Andalusia), as a case study.