Granada, Spain

IAHR World Congress, 2022

From Snow to Sea

19-24 June 2022

Technical Visits

The technical visits will take place on Wednesday, 22 June 2022. Below is a description of the most relevant elements that can be viewed in each of them, highlighting our historical legacy linked to water and recent relevant hydraulic infrastructures. As Congress approaches, additional information will be provided.

Visit 1. The historical water management systems of Sierra Nevada
Visit 1. The historical water management systems of Sierra Nevada

The historical water management systems are one of the main Southeast and Levante peninsular identity signs. They were built mainly during the Andalusian/Islamic period, between the 8th and 10th centuries, as part of the new productive systems brought by the Arab conquerors from the East. They are part of a complex ecological knowledge system, practices, productive strategies, and forms of social organisation and collaborative governance. Many of these systems have survived today with few variations, both in their layout and management. The case of the Sierra Nevada is particularly significant because it includes forms of meltwater management and artificial recharge of high mountain aquifers, underground drainage systems for water catchment, extensively irrigated areas of intensive terraced agriculture, pastures, temporary irrigation areas, and complex mixed areas of forest-pasture-irrigated agriculture. This management has indelibly shaped the landscape, generating new values and balances through a historical co-evolutionary process. The resulting socio-ecosystems have proven to be sustainable and highly resilient, generating a wealth of ecosystem services and cultural, environmental, social, and productive values. In the current context, they face both pressures for modernisation-intensification and abandonment in the context of a highly competitive, globalised economy. Conserving and recovering these systems guarantees sustainable development and is a good tool for adapting to climate change.

With the support of MEMOLab

Visit 2. On the paths of water. Hydraulic storage and distribution in the Albaicín
Visit 2. On the paths of water. Hydraulic storage and distribution in the Albaicín

The magnificent strategic conditions presented by Hisn Garnata made it the new site of the Zirids. At the same time, this dynasty faced the problem of opening an irrigation channel to supply the population centre with different social and urban characteristics from those it had in Roman times. In the last decade of the 11th century, the waters from the spring of the “Fuente Grande de Alfacar” flowed towards the Albaicín through the irrigation channel of Aynadamar, just as this dynasty was coming to an end. Its route served in the first place to cultivate the wide spaces that lay at its feet. However, this was secondary to its primary objective: to supply water to the new centre created under the protection of the Zirid dynasty using a complex and essential system of irrigation channels and cisterns that ran and were distributed through the streets; we must remember the respect that the Muslim population had for the water supply system and the connotation of this as an element of purification, a connotation that is evident in the mosque-hammam binomial. The “Fundación del Agua” tries to rescue a valuable historical heritage and a way of understanding life with these visits, keeping in mind that the Albaicín neighborhood is a World Heritage Site.

 

With the support of Fundación del Agua

Visit 3. Water in The Alhambra and the Generalife
Visit 3. Water in The Alhambra and the Generalife

Water has been and is an intrinsic part of the cultural landscape of the palatine city of the Alhambra. The first king of the Nasrid dynasty, Muḥammad I (1232-1273), decided to establish the site of his power on the Red Hill, where a military enclosure already existed, laying the foundations of what was to become a proper palatine city, with all the elements that characterized the medieval Islamic city, but on a small scale. To this end, he first ensured the water supply, taking it from the River Darro through the Acequia Real, the construction of which was ordered by this monarch in 1238. This planning act would make possible and structure the development of this nascent city, structuring its architecture and urban planning. The initial layout of this canalization already considered the establishment of a large cultivation area in front of the walled enclosure of the Alhambra, which was included in the Almunia of the Generalife, where Muhammad II (1273-1302) began to build the famous palace that has survived to the present day with its subsequent transformations. This visit will take you on a journey through the most important hydraulic works built between the 13th and 15th centuries that shaped the paradise on earth in Granada: the hill of the Alhambra and the Generalife.

 

With the support of Patronato de la Alhambra y el Generalife

Visit 4. Water supply and water treatment plants
Visit 4. Water supply and water treatment plants

The water supply treatment plant in La Lancha del Genil and the wastewater treatment plant in the south of Granada, both managed by Emasagra, will be visited. During these visits, the latest technological advances will be presented. The circular economy principles have been integrated into the management model, transforming Emasagra’s wastewater treatment plants into biofactories, thus generating quality resources from waste. In this way, we are moving from a model of seeking efficiency in the treatment of resources (minimisation of waste, efficiency in consumption, efficiency in production costs) to seeking the concept of biofactory, i.e., sustainability in the recovery of resources (moving from being energy consumers to energy producers, recovering 100% of the waste and reusing treated water). The optimization of purification and reuse processes is where Emasagra has devoted most effort to research and innovation.

 

With the support of Emasagra

Visit 5. Canales and Quéntar dams
Visit 5. Canales and Quéntar dams

The presence of several dams characterises the area surrounding the city of Granada. Among them, the city’s drinking water supply partially depends on the Quéntar dam, which was inaugurated in 1976 and has a capacity of 13.5 million cubic metres. The immediate purpose of this reservoir is to supplement the water supply of the city of Granada and the irrigation of its fertile lowlands. Together with the Canales reservoir, it supplies over 300,000 inhabitants and meets the irrigation needs of some 10,000 ha. The dam is of the double-curvature vault type with a height of 133 m and a crown length of 200 m. On the other hand, the Canales dam was inaugurated in 1988 and is of the loose material type, with a clay core. It has a slightly curved ground plan and a height above the riverbed of 146 m and 156 m on foundations.

 

With the support of Confederación Hidrográfica del Guadalquivir

Visit 6. Béznar and Rules dams
Visit 6. Béznar and Rules dams

The waters of the Sierra flow largely through the river Guadalfeo and its tributaries until they reach the coast of Granada. Several dams located in this area collect these waters and supply both nearby towns and irrigated areas. The Béznar dam is a double-curvature vault, 110m high above the river bed or 134m above the foundations, with a crest length of 408m. It was designed with circular arches with three centres and, in elevation, with curve corbels. It has several water outlets, an overflow spillway, an intermediate spillway that diverts water to the power station, and a bottom spillway. On the Guadalfeo river, the Rules dam completes and guarantees the objectives and demands of the Béznar reservoir. In this case, it is a gravity arch dam with a radius of 500 metres, a height above the riverbed of 94 m, and a height above the foundations of 132 m. The Rules reservoir has a surface area of 345 ha and a capacity of 114 hm³.

 

With the support of Junta de Andalucía

Visit 7. Port of Motril
Visit 7. Port of Motril

Located on the coast of Granada, near the mouth of the Guadalfeo River, the Port of Motril has a strategic location on the Mediterranean Sea, being one of the main links between the European and African continents. The Port is expanding and growing and serves both goods traffic and, in a very appropriate way, passenger traffic with services for cruises and connections with North African cities such as Melilla, Nador, or the ports of Tanger Med and Alhucemas. Over the last few years, the Port has been undertaking many improvements, mainly in line with the principles of the blue economy and the objectives of sustainable development.

 

With the support of Autoridad Portuaria de Motril