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In 1983, the then Ministry of Public Works, Transport, Ports and Urbanism (M.O.P.T.P.U), within the General Plan for the Safety and Operation of State Reservoirs, and promoted by the Directorate-General for Hydraulic Works (D.G.O.H.), included the installation of an Automatic Hydrological Information System (S.A.I.H.) as one of its specific actions-investments.

The SAIH, in the Segura River Basin, was designed as a telemetry, remote control and centralization system for certain hydraulic and meteorological parameters, in real time, using the latest technology available at the time, for the prompt taking of decisions by human personnel, who are responsible for managing the water resources in the River Basin, with the purpose of improving the safety of persons and property, where appropriate, and to make the hydraulic infrastructures being used by the Administration more efficient.

Among the objectives of the SAIH programme, it is necessary to point out the following:

  • Mitigate the catastrophic effects caused by floods.
  • Optimize water resource management in the river basin.

In 1983, a working group of experts was formed, from the Ministry, from the Confederación Hidrográfica, with external legal counsel, to study the problems characteristic of the River Basin, to deal with two aspects: extraordinary flood events caused by rivers overflowing their banks, which historically have left the population with unhappy memories, and that of ordinary and exceptional droughts that call for a maximum use of the scarce water resources. During 1984, the working group travelled throughout the whole basin, taking note of all hydraulic infrastructures eligible for being controlled and measured, compiling a catalogue of interesting points to be included in the Automatic System. Once the most appropriate places and hydraulic or meteorological parameter measurements had been determined, the contracting project was drawn up and sent to the Directorate-General of the Ministry for its approval and public tender. In February 1986 the corresponding works began, which were completed in 1992.

Since the early days, there was also hope that, by providing the Confederations with a SAIH, it would mean that its incorporation into ordinary management would be made easier, and it would help to achieve an efficient joint management, as well as its implementation in the ordinary operation of the existing infrastructures, resources and demands, and also in the monitoring of the circulating flows, both service and ecological, being to the advantage of the overall efficiency of the river basin management.

In the Segura River Basin, the drafters of the SAIH project, apart from considering the problem of rises in water levels and floods, also bore in mind the shortage of basin resources and the unbalanced situation that, from time immemorial, had occurred between the water resources available and those needed. In particular, they took into account the recent implementation of the Tagus-Segura Transfer and the infrastructures of the distribution canals, as well as its coming into operation in 1979.

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