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Alfonso XIII Reservoir


Events such as heavy rains or floods are not unusual in the Segura basin. Damages caused by water have historically represented a concern for area residents in terms of economic and human losses.

The long series of floods that took place during the 1870's and, above all, the flood of October 15, 1879, which was classified as highly catastrophic, called for the celebration of the Eastern Region Flash Flood Conference in Murcia, in March 1885, and its conclusions led to the development of a broad flood defense plan entitled the Segura Valley Flood Defense Project, signed in 1886. The Quípar river reservoir was included in this plan as a matter to be studied.

Later on, when the Segura Basin General Flood Defense Plan was adopted in 1977, the Alfonso XIII reservoir became part of the general plan of the aforementioned project.

Overview of the dam upstream from the left margin

The Quípar river is one of the right-margin affluents of the middle section of Segura river (together with the Moratalla, Argos and Mula rivers) which contribute steady but scarce volumes of water which, in most cases, is consumed locally without any relevant back flows to the Segura.

The Alfonso XIII dam is located in a Quipar river gorge in the municipality of Calasparra (Murcia). It is a curved cyclopean masonry gravity dam.

This document replaces the previous one, published in 1994, and includes the modifications carried out in the dam and its other installations starting on that year, which obviously are not included in the previous document.

The original project was dated 1893, but it was later modified in compliance with Ministerial Ordinance of February 12, 1901.

The final project for the “Dam for the Alfonso XIII reservoir” was drafted by August 30,1902, and approved by Royal Decree on September 10, 1903. The calculation of the Reservoir was based on the general plan that was attached to the plan drafted by the Studies Committee on May 31, 1893.

On April 25, 1902, the National Plan of Hydraulic Works was approved, and it was in effect until 1926, when the Segura Hydrographic Confederation was created, and which started a series of studies, such as the General River Management, covering the entire Segura basin.

This National Plan, also known as the Gasset Plan, included the project for the construction of the Quipar Reservoir, whose authorization for the execution of the works was issued through a Ministerial Ordinance dated September 5, 1903, immediately leading to the start of the works which were completed in 1915.

Dam crest

Even when reconsidering the works and checking the gorge where the dam was to be located, there were some relevant differences in view of the detailed plan of the project, but it was not considered necessary to check out the entire reservoir plan, even if later it was done while developing a new reservoir plan which was presented in the First Reformed Project.

During the execution of the works, through a Ministerial Ordinance dated March 14, 1908, the aforementioned First Reformed Project for the Alfonso XIII Reservoir Dam was approved; subsequently, through a Ministerial Ordinance dated July 13, 1911, the Second Additional Project for the Alfonso XIII reservoir dam was approved, and later on, the Third Additional Project of the Alfonso XIII Reservoir Dam on February 1, 1916, and finally, the fourth Additional Project in 1918.

The content of all such reforms to the dam construction is shown in paragraph 2.2.

The bottom sluices and the water intake valves were the object of the special tender approved through a Ministerial Ordinance dated September 11, 1913, whose execution was authorized through a Ministerial Ordinance dated April 24, 1914, and awarded to Maquinista Terrestre y Marítima by a Ministerial Ordinance dated January 12, 1915; and it was completed in 1918.

Supplementary Projects:

Supplementary Project Nº 1 involved the completion of the reservoir service paths.

Supplementary Project Nº 2 (1970), drafted by Alfonso Botía Pantoja, concerned the construction of galleries, drains and conditioning of the Alfonso XIII dam crest. Its provisional award took place in 1974, while the final award was approved in 1979.

Subsequent projects:

Many modifications and changes have been developed during the life of the Alfonso XIII dam; however, we must point out the successive surface spillways built.

Already in 1920, Emilio Arévalo drafted a project to modify the surface spillway. Again in 1949, Roberto Goma Pujadas drafted a repair and improvement project of such spillway. Finally, in 1964, Juan Luis Fernández Madrid drafted, and later executed, the project for a new surface spillway, given the low capacity of the original spillway.

Later, when the Argos–Quípar Channel, which sends the excess waters of the Argos dam to the Alfonso XIII dam started operating, it was considered necessary to adapt the different overflow systems in order to face new flows. Thus, in 1993, Antonio Maurandi Guirado drafted the project to adapt the of the overflow elements. When this work was awarded, the contractor introduced a series of changes, so a new project was drafted, this time dealing with the construction and adaptation of the overflow elements. This last project led to a Modification Nº1 in 1999, which was actually carried out.

In March 1997, the classification proposal according to potential risk of breaking or malfunctioning was implemented, obtaining the A rating for the dam. Such a proposal was definitely completed by the Directorate-General of Hydraulic Works and Water Quality on July 29, 1998.

Vista del aliviadero secundario desde aguas arriba

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