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Santomera reservoir

Purpose.

The Santomera dam was designed and built with the main purpose of its serving as a defence for the Vega Baja del Segura against the disastrous floodings of the Santomera and Abanilla wadis.

The Project for the dam formed part of the “Project for the retention and exploitation of floodwaters of the Ramblas de Santomera and Abanilla, by means of the Santomera reservoir and as flood protection of the Vega Baja del Segura”, which was drawn up by the Confederación Hidrográfica del Segura in August 1950.
 

Santomera reservoir
General view of Santomera reservoir

Due to the characteristics of the materials of the foundations and the abutments (especially the left bank abutment), important seepage occurred, although it was decided not to tackle this problem on account of the exclusive use of the reservoir for the purpose of flood abatement.

Later, in 1986, and regarding the possibility of using the reservoir to store waters from the Tagus-Segura Distribution Canals, the “Impermeabilization of the left embankment of the Santomera reservoir (05/86)” was drawn up, and injections and surface treatments were carried out from the existing inspection gallery.

Later, in 1986, and regarding the possibility of using the reservoir to store waters from the Tagus-Segura Distribution Canals, the “Impermeabilization of the left embankment of the Santomera reservoir (05/86)” was drawn up, and injections and surface treatments were carried out from the existing inspection gallery.
 

Santomera Reservoir Picture

These works were carried out, although seepage continued (but to a lesser extent following the treatments carried out) until nearby quarrying was ceased, since its explosions had been causing vibrations which were incompatible with the sealing of the left bank of the massif. Once the explosions ceased, seepage gradually decreased and finally disappeared completely..

Nevertheless, today the reservoir cannot be used as a regulating reservoir of the Distribution Canals on account of the high salinity of the waters proceeding from Rambla Salada which are stored in the reservoir.

This environmental conditioning means that the reservoir cannot be used for irrigation purposes, being used exclusively for flood abatement.

Santomera dam, made of mass concrete with a straight ground plan, has only one characteristic cross section. It comprises 14 blocks separated by concertina expansion joints every 15.00 m. Its total length at the crest is 205.79 m, with a width of 4.00 m on the latter. The total height is 51.50 m above its foundations.
 

Detail of Santomera reservoir
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The total volume of cement used for the main dam was 103,212.463 m³ and 25,583.369 m³ for the stilling basin.

The crest of the dam is situated at a height of 101.50 and it has a 3.00 metre wide road which is protected by concrete paving. Two pavements 0.50 metres wide run along both sides of the road. Both upstream and downstream, the crest is protected on both sides by concrete parapet walls which are 40 cm high and 54 cm wide, on which railings have been installed, made of 100 mm diameter metal tubes.The lowest level of the foundations is 50.00 m, with the bed at this point situated at 64.50 m. The average thickness of the foundations is therefore 14.50 m.
 

Santomera reservoir

The body of the dam houses a network of inspection and drainage galleries, on two levels, with their corresponding communicating stairways.

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