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Argos Reservoir


The idea of building a dam in the Argos river in order to control floods within the municipality of Cehegín (almost adjacent to the municipality of Calasparra) dates back to 1866, when it was included in the Flood Defense Plan.

But it was not until 1929 when the dam was also considered to guarantee irrigation volume in that area.

In 1940, the project for the construction of a dam in the Argos river was drafted, but it was never exectued.

As early as the 60's, the Segura Hydrographic Confederation requested authorization to drill to assess the possibility of building a reservoir in the Argos river for land irrigation purposes in the municipality of Calasparra.

The General Directorate of Hydraulic Works authorized the Geological Service to carry out the drilling. Once the study was completed, the “Report on the survey to assess the building of an irrigation reservoir in the Argos river for Calasparra (Murcia)” was drafted on October 15, 1964. The real purpose of the drilling concerning the works was to find out the strength of the bed debris layer and the drift sides, probe the permeability, particularly in limited sides, verify the existence of a fault at the bottom of the scarpment on the right bank and, finally, take ground samples at the site where the dam would be located in order to perform lab tests.

The project eventually executed in the Argos dam was drafted in December 1964 by the road engineers José Antonio Jiménez Salas and Ventura Escario. This project was returned by the General Directorate of Hydraulic Works on October 16, 1965, to modify certain parts of the plan and to detail certain paragraphs according to the notes contained in the reports by the engineers of the Confederation, as well as in several briefing notes from the Dam Supervision Section. The most important change was the breakdown of the main surface spillway project because of the need to perform scale model testing. Such changes were completed and the project was finally approved on July 8, 1966.

Development of the main project

The works included in the project concerning the Argos dam were awarded to “ Obras y Servicios Públicos, S.A.” on June 20, 1967. On July 17 of the same year, the works were reassessed including the benefits of undertaking different works that presented no question as they were included in that current Project, while some other important element modifications were anticipated.

In the meetings of the Dam Supervision Section, the changes to the original project were specified; and before their final approval, the General Directorate of Hydraulic Works was asked to draft a reformed project.

Such a reformed project, drafted in January 1969 by Alfonso Botía Pantoja, intended to introduce a number of changes aimed at updating the dam to more modern techniques, improving structural performance, avoiding unnecessary routine operations and improving dam monitoring, while, at the same time, adjusting the soundings of the project to reality, since some works were already quite advanced. The deadline to complete the works was established for April 30, 1970.

Supplementary projects

Supplementary project Nº 1 dealt with access to the work site.

Supplementary project Nº 2 covered residential water supply to the area.

Supplementary project Nº 3 was drafted for the project tender, supply and assembly of metal sluices for the Argos reservoir spillways.

Supplementary project Nº 4, drafted by road engineer Alfonso Botía Pantoja, provided for the construction of the surface spillway.

Supplementary project Nº 5 included the facilities to record reservoir contributions.

Supplementary project Nº 6 established the necessary works for dam lighting, as well as the final electric installations.

Supplementary project Nº 7 focused on defining the irrigation canal on the right margin, while Nº 8, defined the Canal on the left margin.

Supplementary projects Nº 9 and 10 specified the works for the high canals on both of left and right margins respectively.

The dam began operating in 1973.

In March 1997, the classification proposal according to potential risk of breakage or malfunction was presented, and the dam obtained category A.


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