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Reservoirs

José Bautista Reservoir

History.

The Guadalentín, a tributary of the Segura, is a river with an extremely irregular flow system, which can go from being completely dry to having an extremely large flow volume.

Over the last 130 years we should recall, amongst others, the following floods:

  • October 1879 (Santa Teresa Flood): In Lorca it produced a peak flood flow of 1,510 m³/s, causing 13 deaths and substantial damage.
  • September 1891 (San Jacinto Flood): Bigger than the previous one, and thanks to the existence of Puentes dam, located at the headwaters of the river basin, the region was saved from an unprecedented catastrophe.
  • June 1900 (San Aniceto Flood): Bigger than the Santa Teresa flood, it flooded the San Cristóbal quarter in Lorca.
  • October 1948: The estimated flow at the bridge on the Murcia to Granada road was over 800 m³/s.
  • October 1973: According to a report by the Centre for Hydrographic Studies, the peak flood downriver from the Puentes reservoir reached 2,000 m³/s, whilst around 1,500 m³/s reached El Paretón canal (located in the mid-region of the river basin).

Another of the characteristics of this river is the large amount of suspended solids which it drags along, causing silting problems, reflected in its name in Arabic, meaning river of mud.
 

José Bautista Reservoir Picture

Bearing in mind these characteristics of the Guadalentín, many attempts have been made over the years to alleviate, as far as possible, the destructive effects of its floods. Amongst these we should mention:

  • The Puentes Dams are located at the confluence of the Vélez and Luchena rivers, headwater rivers of the basin, and where the most intense rainfall is registered, the former having been the main cause of some big historical floods, such as that of October 1973. The old dam, located downriver from the new Puentes dam, was built at the end of the last century to cater for irrigation needs and has become redundant with the construction of the new dam.

    The Puentes dams play an important role in protecting against floods. In 1973, before the new Puentes dam had been built, there was overspill from the crest in the old dam, which highlighted the need to heighten it, or as was the case, the need to build a new dam in this location which would create a reservoir with a bigger capacity.
  • Upriver from the Puentes reservoir, on the Luchena river, the Valdeinfierno reservoir is located, which in spite having been heightened, is at present almost completely silted up and has practically no regulation capacity.
  • Downriver from the Puentes reservoir, there is El Paretón by-pass channel, developed to lead part of the River Guadalentín flood waters straight to the sea. It was planned at the start of the 20th Century with a capacity of approximately 200 m³/s, was subsequently expanded, and in 1973, after the flood, its capacity was increased to 600 m³/s.
  • Finally, there is a very old artificial course (previous to 1651, the date of the historical San Calixto flood), to by-pass the water from the River Guadalentín, to avoid it passing through the city of Murcia. It is called El Reguerón. Its maximum capacity is estimated at around 250 m³/s, even though at certain points it may overflow with lesser flow rates.

The overflows of El Reguerón channel affect the fertile plains of Alcantarilla and Murcia.

With regards to the work on the José Bautista Reservoir, the most specific records come from the Flood Control Plan of the Segura river Basin.

José Bautista Reservoir Picture

In May 1977 the Flood Control Plan of the Segura river Basin was drawn up under the guidance of the Engineer Mr. José Bautista Martín. This document was finally approved on 12th November 1978, after a Public Information inquiry, ordaining the Segura Hydraulic Confederation to draw up the projects included in the Plan.

One of the most important works included in this Flood Control Plan was the Romeral Reservoir, for the abatement of the Guadalentín floods. This project was drafted in 1985 with a gravity dam as the preferred solution.

As a result of the floods in the regions of Murcia and Valencia in November 1987, emergency measures were taken, published in Royal Decree 4/1987 of 13 November, to repair the damage caused by the floods in the Autonomous Communities mentioned. In Annex I these included a list of the works to be carried out amongst which, once again, was that of El Romeral Reservoir.

In 1989 the point of closure was further investigated, and the conclusions served as the grounds for the Rules of Tender for the project and construction of El Romeral Reservoir. It was submitted to tender on the 13th July 1990, and, in the Additional Technical Clause, it was highlighted that the structural solution should be that of a loose material dam with lateral spillway.

José Bautista Reservoir Picture

On 30th January 1993 the works were finally allocated, with the Variation Order being signed on 17th June 1993.

Once the excavations had begun, and as had been projected in the chosen plan, the closure’s additional geological geotechnical tests were conducted. Once these tests had been analyzed it was concluded that the land conditions for the dam foundations were better than had been foreseen during the tendering stage.

Based on these conclusions, on the 19th May 1994 permission was requested from the Directorate-General for Hydraulic Works for authorization to draft Amendment I to the Project. This proposed a structural solution of a mixed reservoir with a spillway into the riverbed and a land closure dike on the left abutment without any increase in the budget.

On the 15th June 1994, the Directorate-General for Hydraulic Works authorised the drafting of Amendment I, under the conditions requested.

On the 19th December 1994 Amendment I to the PROJECT FOR THE ROMERAL RESERVOIR –MUNICIPALITY OF LIBRILLA (MURCIA) is technically and finally passed.

On the 9th October 1995 authorization was requested to draft the Project for Additional Works I, with its drafting being approved on 5th December 1995.

On the 2nd August 1996 the Directorate-General for Hydraulic Works requested authorization to draft Amendment II to the Project.

On the 20th September 1996 the Directorate-General for Hydraulic Works and Quality of Waters authorized the drafting of Amendment II to the Works, under the conditions requested, indicating in the document that the affected works should be temporarily suspended. The Partial Temporary Suspension Act was signed on the 4th October 1996.
 

José Bautista Reservoir Picture

The works were finished on 30th of December 1999, and their provisional acceptance took place on the 19th June 2000 with the definitive acceptance on the 22nd October 2002.

On the request of several institutions El Romeral Reservoir was renamed José Bautista Martín Reservoir, by decree of the Directorate for Hydraulic Works on 3rd April 1997.

Picture of José Bautista reservoir plate
 

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