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El Moro Reservoir


The first mention we have about the possibility of building a retarding basin in the Rambla del Moro basin goes back to the year 1930, when the engineer Mr. José Muso Blanch drafted the "Project for the Rambla del Moro Regulating Reservoir".

Photo of Rambla del Moro

Later the Geological Advisory services issued a report on the geological conditions of the downstream boundary for the storage area, ordering probings to be carried out. Once the probing campaign was over, the results were published in the “Report on probings made in the Rambla del Moro, to study the siting of a dam to form a reservoir for flood control and projected by the Confederación Hidrográfica del Segura” issued in 1954 by the Supervisory Authority for Probings.

In October 1973 there was great flooding in the province of Murcia that led to the proposal to adopt a series of technical measures in order to eliminate, or at least mitigate, the harmful effects caused by very heavy showers in the area.

On 11th September 1974 a Coordination Plan was approved to carry out works and actions in the province of Murcia, which included those of the "Rambla del Moro Reservoir".

Photo of El Moro Dam

On 20th November 1974, the “Tender Specifications for the Contracting and Drafting of the Flood Protection Works General Plan in the Segura river Basin” was presented. It was approved on 9th December 1974. The drafting of the Plan was completed in 1977. Rambla del Moro Reservoir was included in this Plan as a basic hydraulic infrastructure required in that sub-basin for flood control.

The floods which occurred in the Segura River basin in October 1982 meant that the works included in the above-mentioned General Plan were given top priority and the procedure for the award of the Rambla del Moro reservoir and dam project was initiated.

Chronologically, the first document found that bears a direct relationship with the current Rambla del Moro reservoir dates from the year 1983. It is the Tender Specifications issued on the occasion of the contracting of the Technical Assistance for carrying out the necessary studies for drafting the Dam Project.

The Confederación Hidrográfica del Segura published the Project for the Construction of the Rambla del Moro Reservoir, in March 1984, directed by Mr. José Bautista Martín and Mr. Julio Bravo Muñoz.

This Project was given a favourable report on 13th June the same year by the Dam Surveillance Service with several conditional proposals (regarding the terracing of the land to support the foundations, the making of transversal galleries, the waterproofing of the calcareous land of the foundations, the detailed study of the seismicity in the area and the extension of the dam drainage network). The Project was approved technically and definitively on the part of the Directorate General for Hydraulic Works on 20th July 1984.

The Project, which was basically based on the suitability of the location due to its reduced cost (narrowing of the bed) and to the safety of the foundations (limestones), had its maximum level limited because of the Madrid - Cartagena railway, whose embankments and bridge would be affected by the reservoir. Therefore the maximum flood level established was 235.50 m.

The document verifying readiness for construction of the "Project of the Rambla del Moro Reservoir" works was signed on 5th December 1984.

On 6th May 1985, RENFE (the Spanish Railways Company) wrote to the then Directorate General for Hydraulic Works, expressing the problem of the above-mentioned railway line (RENFE’s refusal to accept the lining of the embankments of the Chinchilla-Cartagena railway line), proposing its total diversion. This facilitated the raising of the height of the dam, an Amended Project being proposed with the initial idea that the railway line would run along the dam crest, and so a crest pass had to be built.

On 18th November 1986 the drafting of Amendment Project I was authorized on the part of the Directorate General for Hydraulic Works, a report on the partial temporary suspension of the works being issued.

In January 1987 Mr. José Bautista Martín issued Amendment Project I for Rambla del Moro Reservoir. This removed the items related to the lining of the embankments, a crest pass was designed and the height was increased 2.5 m in the centre and 4.8 m in the abutments.

Photo of El Moro Reservoir

In the Dam Surveillance Service Report of 27th December 1988, the approval of Amendment Project I was proposed, some recommendations being added. The confirmation of the stability of the dam was among them. In October 1989 the justificatory documentation of the stability of the dam was received for this increase in height.

On 15th January 1991 the Provisional acceptance of the works that include those of Amendment Project I was made.

Additional Projects

Additional Works Project I:

When the works were being carried out, the need arose for undertaking other additional ones, the corresponding project dated January 1987 being drafted by Mr. José Bautista Martín. The project consisted of equipping the dam with certain services.

- Administration building.
- Electricity supply
- Drinking water supply
- Telephone line

Additional Works Project II:

This project was drafted, just as in the previous project, with the same dates and author, and its purpose was the consolidation of the abutments by means of injections.

Additional Works Project III:

Additional Works Project III was drawn up in July 1990 and approved on 3rd June 1991. In this project various works were proposed for improvement of the accesses, adaptation of the abutments, development of the area, illumination, etc. The following actions were considered:

- Access to the dam from the CN-301 main road (before the A-30 road was built), by making an intersection to facilitate change of direction.
- Paving of the road from the CN-301 as far as the junction where the fork of the access to the Administration building, access to the crest and of the access to the hollow.
- Development of the surroundings of the Administration building.
- Structure for accessing the right abutment.
- Closing wall on the right abutment.
- Bund wall on the left abutment.
- Consolidation of the left abutment following the landslides occurred between 20th and 22nd September 1989.
- Illumination of accesses and dam, exterior and galleries.
- Extension of the spillway basin wall on the right bank, by means of bolsters that would protect the dam access footpath (which was finally not carried out).
- Environmental improvements by means of plantations and gardening works.
Other Projects

In June 1991 the Project for the supply and installation of undersluices was drawn up.

In 1992 the works included in the Project for the supply and installation of the undersluices for the Rambla del Moro Reservoir were adjudicated to the dam constructor. The works of this project consisted of the installation of 4 “Bureau”- type floodgates of 2.00 x 1.70 m² (width x height), placed in twos, one for safety and another for closing and regulation, in each of the conduits of the scour outlets, as well as the necessary mechanical elements for their electrical and manual operation as well as the metallic elements for flow control and piping.

On 14th January 1993, the Dam Surveillance Unit issued the mandatory Report prior to the final acceptance of the work. In this Report, it is recommended that the dam monitoring equipment be installed as soon as possible.

In December 1993, the Engineer of the Confederación Hidrográfica del Segura, Mr. Carlos Marco García drew up the Project for the installation of the monitoring equipment in the dam.

Photo of El Moro Reservoir

At the end of 1995 the drafting and later implementation of the "Project of Urgent Conditioning in the Rambla del Moro Reservoir, Municipal Districts of Cieza and Abarán (Murcia)". took place. The works of this project consisted of:

- Consolidation injections and waterproofing of the abutments of the dam and opening of the chimney drain.
- Extension of the dimensions of the stilling pool.
- Elimination of the gypsiferous loam outcrop located downstream from the hollow.
- Installation of monitoring equipment.
- Conditioning of the scour outlet.
- Installation of an Alarm and CCTV System.
- Construction of a jetty and acquisition of a motorboat for the inspection of the reservoir and scour outlet.

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