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Cenajo reservoir


The first studies on the feasibility of a reservoir in this location date from the end of the 19th century. After a succession of studies and projects, the main construction works for the dam were awarded to the company Construcciones Civiles, SA, which carried out the works over the period 1947 to 1960.

Cenajo reservoir
Cenajo reservoir

The historical background of Cenajo dam takes us back to the end of the 19th century. During the 1870s there were a number of important floods, which resulted in the Levante Anti-flood Congress being held in Murcia in March 1885, which led to the drafting of a far-ranging plan called (Segura river Valley Flood Defence Project), passed in 1886.

On 25th April 1902 the Plan Nacional de Obras Hidráulicas (National Hydraulic Works Plan) was passed and it would remain in effect until 1926, the year in which the Confederación Sindical Hidrográfica del Segurawas created. As of that moment a new series of studies was begun which covered the whole Segura Basin, e.g. the Ordenación General de los Ríos y las Obras de Defensa y Regulación (General Control of Rivers and Defence and Regulation Works). All this culminated in 1928 when the Preliminary Project for the Cenajo Dam was drawn up by the engineer Mr. Pablo Quílez Araque

The Plan Nacional de Obras Hidráulicas was drawn up in 1933 and it included the projects for the precursor plans for the basic defence works and reservoirs, and among them figured the Proyecto de construcción del pantano del Cenajo (Project for the Construction of the Cenajo Dam).

In January 1942 the General Directorate for Hydraulic Works passed the General Project for the Cenajo Reservoir.

The rest of the works for the dam were covered by different projects covering various stages:

  • Reformed project for the road at the base of the dam and the service footbridge
  • Reformed project for the diversion gallery and the project for the scour outlet and cofferdam
  • Project for the surface spillway and water inlets
  • Project for the service buildings and water supply
  • Project for the gravity dam of a height of 84 m

This General Project envisaged a gravity dam whose main uses would be irrigation and the production of electricity.

These characteristics of the elements of the dam would later be modified in the manner outlined below.

The General Project was passed with the proviso that a reassessment Project be drawn up before tendering out the work. The Reassessment Project for the 84m high dam, surface spillway and water inlet at the Cenajo reservoir in the municipal district of Moratalla (Murcia) was drawn up.

Cenajo reservoir
Cenajo reservoir

The works began in 1947, and during the course of the construction a further eight reform projects would be necessary. These were drawn up between 1953 and 1960, to attend to the changes and incidents which arose.

The main dam works began in March 1947 with a date for completion set for seven years. This period was extended no fewer than six times and the work was finally finished on 31st December 1960.

Cenajo reservoir
Cenajo reservoir

The Provisional Certificate of Acceptance was signed on 29th June 1962. The dam was officially opened a year later, June 6, 1963, and the Final Certificate of Acceptance was signed the following month.

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