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Rivers, lakes and reservoirs. Levels and observations

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Offline Clive

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« on: March 04, 2008, 20:53 PM »
Hi all,

With spring just around the corner and with the thought that summer will be hot on it's heels I thought it would be good to get some on the spot observations of any wetlands, lakes and reservoirs of Iberia.

The embalses web site has a lot of information about levels but is lacking in certain information like where the water gets used and what for etc. And maybe more importantly... What is happening to the wildlife that has adapted to the area since the dams were built...

http://www.embalses.net/ To find a reservoir near you click the provinces link on the left of the home page...

We took a drive out yesterday to see our three local reservoirs... The top of the line is pantano de Zahara y el Gastor and the graph showing at http://www.embalses.net/pantano-463-zahara---el-gastor.html is pretty scary..

Gravitationally there is then around 50 odd kilometres of winding stream that leads from the dam at Zahara to the beginning of the reservoir at Bornos... see the graph at http://www.embalses.net/pantano-38-bornos.html This dam has a hydro electric installation and last year it was like they just opened the tap and let it run... I think that the power produced was mainly used for air conditioning systems in Seville!

So the water is stored at the higher reservoir of Zahara and is let through to keep the levels up at Bornos.. Last year the Bornos reservoir just disappeared over a matter of a few weeks.. We tried in vain to save the fresh water clams and the bird life nesting amongst the tamarix swamp were decimated by mammalian predators as soon as the water was gone from that area.

The third reservoir in the chain is smaller and is at Arcos de la Frontera and the graph shows that it is almost full to brimming... http://www.embalses.net/pantano-20-arcos.html interestingly this is also used a leisure lake for boating and other water sports...

It's a shame that the ospreys that we used to see at the Bornos lake sitting in what we called the osprey tree are no longer seen there.. Haven't seen them for some time but I believe they may have moved further South to the Barbate reservoir (Haven't been there to see what the situation is)...

There is a new gas powered electricity power station 80 odd KM away that came online the year before last that I thought would take the pressure off the hydro dams but it didn't seem to make a difference... (Carbon emissions are up in Spain as hydro power has been replaced by fossil fuel power stations)...

So If we don't get any big rain... And I mean BIG rain it will be an interesting summer here with the valley below Zahara de la Sierra returning to what it used to look like before 1986 and maybe the 2000 year old Roman bridge that was covered by the expanding water may still be intact?

Clive
« Last Edit: March 07, 2008, 10:29 AM by Wildside »
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Offline Spanish Footsteps

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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2008, 22:35 PM »
Hola Clive

I assume you were referring to the Cuerda del Pozo in Soria when you mentioned the 2000 yr old Roman bridge?? Or is there another one drowning in Spain?

The pantano is at 55% of its capacity at the moment, lower than this time last year.  We are hoping to get a wet May like last year to bring it to 88% again.

alfredo
« Last Edit: March 07, 2008, 10:31 AM by Wildside »
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Offline Clive

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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2008, 22:41 PM »
Hi Alfredo... The Roman bridge i mentioned is at the reservoir of Zahara and el Gastor... Just a small structure and not as impressive as in your picture... I think... It is located at the dam end so is still in deeper water...

And what of the wildlife at the Cuerda del pozo? what plant life has grown back as the water levels have dropped... Have you walked along the lake shore and found anything left behind as the waters have receded?

Clive
« Last Edit: March 07, 2008, 10:31 AM by Wildside »
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Offline peanut

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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2008, 13:30 PM »
The flow in the Tietar is good; embalse Rosarito is full. The river is fed by lots of gargantas from the mountain and so the water situation is generally quite good here. However, if you go to the Navalcan resevoir-about 15k south west,this is less than 40% full 
« Last Edit: March 07, 2008, 13:41 PM by peanut »

Offline Spanish Footsteps

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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2008, 20:22 PM »
Hola Clive

The bridge in Soria is also completely covered for around 7 months each year, the photo I posted was taken last month.  I must get down to the shoreline to see what’s down there, so far I have only seen the shore and land  from the road, so its hard to tell.  You can see clearly the stone walls that used to separate the plots of land and the cattle and sheep use it over winter to graze.

We will take a look this weekend and post our findings.

alfredo

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Simon

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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2008, 17:54 PM »
Hi guys and gals,

As I write this it's p*****g down here in Catalonia - at long last! Furthermore it looks like the rain is going to spend the weekend falling on the headwaters of the Llogregat at other northeastern rivers, where it can do some good. For reference for folk who don't know: Catalonia's chronic water problem is that the Barcelona conurbation is dependent on a handful of rivers that flow from the easternmost sector of the Pyrenees. These watersheds cannot possible support the city's needs as it develops at an ever more alarming rate. The business you may be seeing in the news is that the only effective long term solution is to divert water form the Ebro basin, which, having its origins not only in the far north but also taking drainage from a much larger and wetter part of the Pyrenees, has plenty of water, according to some! :technodevil:

This is part of the 'polemic': there are plenty of other communities, both within Catalonia and further back upstream, who regards their needs as paramount, with some justification. Furthermore the demise of the PNH, which was to take huge amounts of water from the Ebro to supply regions up and down the Mediterranean littoral  from Barcelona as far as Murcia, was discredited a finally scrapped due to the catastrophic potential for environmetal damage to the Ebro Delta. So the politicos hands are tied by previous judgements, including a ban from the EU.

Meanwhile, despite the rain the first converted oil tanker is taking drinking water from here in Tarragona even as I write! Even though the predicted rainfall will hardly make a dent in the shortfall the emergency measures are being postponed a few weeks - so everyone can water their gold courses!

The first time I heard the term 'Water Wars' used in anger was right here in the heart of Western Europe's developed economy, not somewhere like the Middle-east - Watch this space!  >:D

Regs

Simon

Offline Spanish Footsteps

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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2008, 20:55 PM »
Hola

Its been raining 'Deer and Hogs' too.  The roman bridge at Vinuesa is once again below the waters of the Duero, probably until August when it will show its face once again.
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Offline Clive

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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2008, 23:47 PM »
Hi all,

There is a weather topic somewhere else around here......

Come on, can we have some facts and figures about the lakes, rivers and damned areas of artificial wetland!

You know, is it hydro electric or for irrigation, has the birdlife moved in or has the river been pumped dry... stuff like that...
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Offline Spanish Footsteps

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« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2008, 20:18 PM »
Hola Clive n all

Heres some stats on Sorias Cuerda de Pozo, or as the locals call it, the 'Pantano'.

The dam was inaugurated 29th Sept 1941, flooding La Muedra village, it irrigates land in Campillo de Buitrago, Almazan, San Esteban Gormaz and areas in Burgos, approx 26,000 hectares.
The dam wall is 36m from the riverbed and 40.25m from the foundations.  Its coronation is 1085m in length above the water level and is 6m thick. 
131,000 cubic meters of concrete was used for the body of the dam, which has 2 drains. 
It can hold back up to 249 mill hm3 of water.
The basin area is 500kmsq. 
An area of 2289 hectares.  Its shoreline is 65km long.
The pantano started to produce energy for Iberdrola in 1958. Produces 8.5 MW of hydro power annually.
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Offline ladena

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« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2008, 01:05 AM »
Hi all

Well - I went out for a couple of hours this afternoon and came back to find the river had risen by several feet in my absence! We live on a street that runs by the River Ebro. It's not unusual during Spring for the river level to fluctuate considerably (snow melt, spring rains etc) and it is controlled by dams upriver at Mequinenza and Riba-Roja.

About an hour ago the police knocked on my door concerned about our van which is parked up at the end of the street, he said they expected the river to rise a little more, probably not enough to reach the van but suggested we move it to be on the safe side. Well that won't be easy 'cos hubby is in England with the keys! 

A peak outside a few minutes ago revealed that the Ebro is in fact now lapping across the bottom of the street!. This is the highest we've ever seen it. (Got close to this last year but didn't actually enter the street)  Quite ironic in view of the water shortage that most of Spain is experiencing at the moment. Presumably the dams here must be full - otherwise why would they be releasing so much water? ( ahh... unless it's so they have an excuse not to send it to Barcelona! >:D

Well I'm off to bed now - gonna put my wellies by the bed just in case! I'll post some pics tomorrow.

Dena

« Last Edit: May 27, 2008, 10:11 AM by Clive »
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Offline Technopat

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« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2008, 01:16 AM »
Greetings Dena,
Amazing first-hand account there! Many thanx!
Can't wait to see those pics!
Regs.,
Technopat
« Last Edit: May 27, 2008, 10:12 AM by Clive »
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Clive

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« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2008, 10:12 AM »
Uh oh, no spare keys Dena?

Looking forward to some pictures as well....

Clive
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« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2008, 10:25 AM »
Yes, Do keep us posted Dena - if you can! If you have to take to your raft and get washed up the coast as far as Tarragona I send one of my striking fiherman friends out to rescue you - as in the verb, none of them are what you might call good looking!  :technodevil:

And welcome aboard, if it's not too late!

Seriously, the rivers upstream; Segre, Noguerra Pallaresa, etc. are at red alert flood warnings, and in Andrra the river burst its banks yesterday, so, Yes they are letting the water out of the dams like nobidy's business!

Cheers and good luck

Simon

Offline ladena

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« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2008, 12:41 PM »

Hi everyone

An update on the river status here in Mora d'Ebre. Has risen a little more during the night. Police have now closed our street to traffic because of the flood onto the road. Now it really is "Passeig de l'Ebre"! Here are a few photos to show the difference in the normal water level and the flood level.

Oh yes - the water has so far stopped just short of our van! Did mean that I and my dogs had to paddle through the water this morning though (so glad I bought a pair of wellies last time I was in UK - even if I did have to wear them on the plane 'cos they wouldn't go in my case!) Young spaniel - very excited. Middle aged whippet - not at all impressed -"what I have to get my paws wet?" Old greyhound - too laid back to care!

Hope you like the pics.

Will keep you posted
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Offline Technopat

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« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2008, 13:02 PM »
Greetings Dena,
Thanx for those interesting pics. Do the police offer any info. as to how much more water will be coming downriver? Are your neighbours especially frazzled or have they seen it all before?
Just a thought - can't you ask the local cops to tow your van out of harm's way. Surely prevention of damages is where it's at? And if you've got a 24-hr breakdown service maybe you could negotiate with 'em - or get 'em to tow the car to the nearest garage - out of harm's w.
Good luck!
Regs.,
Technopat

PS.
Wellies on plane? Didn't they suspect you of bootlegging? :technodevil:
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline tonyninfas

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« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2008, 13:48 PM »
Thanks for those pictures Dena.
Makes me wonder how the current driven ferry at Miravet is getting on.
Tony

Offline ladena

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« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2008, 13:56 PM »
I doubt very much that it will be running Tony
May be popping down to Miravet later - I'll let you know.

Dena
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Offline ladena

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« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2008, 15:03 PM »
 You'll be getting bored with me soon!

The river is still rising.  Van now standing several inches of water! Finally made contact with hubby in England who'd had his mobile switched off. Found out where he kept spare keys. Paddled through the water to the entertainment of neighbours, sightseers(spelling?) and the  mayor and his wife! Battery flat! Phoned friend who came with his Landrover and jump-started van. Van removed to dry place. Phew!

The bottom 2 houses have now cemented a course of bricks across their front door and garage. They tell me that the river is expected to rise another 6 inches tihs afternoon. Also (tony) that the riverside square at Miravet is completely underwater - they saw a report on local TV news.

It's an exciting life!

Dena   
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Simon

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« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2008, 18:10 PM »
Hi Dena,

Wow! this is news as it happens, why don't you phone/mail the Beeb? You could earn yourself a few bob and get the IbNat Forum worlwide fame as well!  :sign:

Good luck with the bricking up, etc. and remember, you'll need a poweful hose to sluice away the fould mud as ad when the water level falls, so get one in before they all sell out!"

Simon

Offline Clive

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« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2008, 18:46 PM »
More pictures please! :)
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