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.

Please note that Technical Visits and Pre-Congress workshops are not included in the registration fee. Registration for workshops and Technical visits can be made in the online registration process for the congress.

Please note that spaces are limited and subject to capacity, we recommend you to book your visit or/and workshops as soon as possible in order to guarantee availability.

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. Béznar and Rules dams
Visit 4. 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 5. Negratín dam
Visit 5. Negratín dam

The Negratín Dam located in the north of Granada was built during 1978-1984 across the Guadiana Menor River, a tributary of the Guadalquivir River. The dam is managed by the Guadalquivir Hydrographic Confederation (CHG).
The reservoir capacity is 567,12 hm3 and the main uses of the reservoir are the supply of water to populations, irrigation and the production of hidrolectric energy.
The local geological structure of the dam consists of Triassic substrate (Keuper) with red clays and gypsum, and a Pliocene and Miocene filling of Helvetian sandstones in the center and the right abutment; marls and sandstones belonging to the late Miocene are found in the left abutment. The top of the local sequence contains silts, sands and gravels from the Quaternary This geological asymmetry creates a mixed dam typology: close to the right abutment, there is a gravity dam with spillways and outlets, and near the left one there is asphalt concrete facing the embankment dam.


With the support of Confederación Hidrográfica del Guadalquivir

Visit 6. Port of Motril
Visit 6. 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

Visit 7. Centre for Water and Climate Crisis Intelligence - DINAPSIS Granada
Visit 7. Centre for Water and Climate Crisis Intelligence – DINAPSIS Granada

DINAPSIS Granada was born as a part of the global solution to face the main challenges to climate change (severe water stress, more and more frequent storms, world population growth, water and energy demand, air pollution,…). It is located in the Drinking Water Treatment Station of Granada and is managed by EMASAGRA. This Center is within the network of Dinapsis Centers and has as its main objectives the improvement of energy efficiency, decarbonization and the management of the effects of the climate crisis. The DINAPSIS network deploys innovative digital solutions for the digital transformation of water management and environmental health in territories, promoting the development of smart, resilient and green cities. In addition, it is focused on co-creation and alliances to establish synergies, applying the acquired knowledge and collective creativity. The DINAPSIS hubs thus allow scaling and adapting digital solutions to the real needs of each territory, around the sustainable management of water, the environment and environmental health, facilitating an optimal management of resources.

With the support of Emasagra

Visit 8. Ecologic wastewater treatment plant near Castril, solar powered pumping system, Portillo Dam
Visit 8. Ecologic wastewater treatment plant near Castril, solar powered pumping system, Portillo Dam (150 km/2 hours from Granada)

Castril is a Municipality located in the Altiplano de Granada, located in the north of the Province, the town rises at the foot of the Peña, declared a Natural Monument, and which runs along the picturesque path of La Cerrada, and on it sit the remains of a Castle from the Almohad period.

Within the Municipality that gives its name to the place and around the Castril River, which runs through this natural space from North to South, we find the Sierra de Castril Natural Park, and which also borders to the north with the Sierra de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park, in an environment of high ecological value.

The ecological wastewater plant is located in the “Fuente de los Tubos” village within the Sierra de Castril Natural Park and serves 52 equivalent inhabitants. The wastewater treatment system is completely biological, without the use of electrical energy (passive), with very low maintenance, without electromechanical components, does not produce noise nor odor and is integrated into the landscape, achieving treatment performance of up to a reduction of 99% of the BOD5, thus ensuring quality standards that they join with the protection that the special environmental value of their surroundings deserves, and that is postulated as a reference model -of a decentralized purification system for small towns- of sustainability.

The solar-powered pumping of the “Loma de las Vacas” Irrigation Community (IC) has a very innovative irrigation system that has allowed them to completely abandon dependence on the supply of the commercial electricity network and completely disconnect from it.

A pumping system with a solar power plant that is capable of generating 235 kW. The system combines hydraulic and electrical design, to achieve pumping up to 20% more efficient than conventional solar pumping.

The irrigation network also has a booster with the same design premises, achieving a final pumping height of 270 meters, so that the irrigation is carried out at the demand of 210 meters, which will imply significant water savings and, together with the use of renewable energy, they configure a unique irrigation system with this type of alternative energy.

The Irrigation Community has an administrative concession for the use of reclaimed water with an average supply of 11 liters per second, from the water treatment plant in the town of Castril. The irrigation system consists of two pumping stations that raises the water to a 24,000-cubic-meter pool, after surpassing an altitude of 210 meters, and originally with an energy consumption close to 50,000 euros a year. Currently, the irrigable area on which many families in the Municipality depend, and which is located in a mountain area with a very high level, thanks to the combination of its hydraulic and electrical design, with renewable energies, has allowed its economic and environmental sustainability.

The El Portillo reservoir is located on the river Castril, in the Municipality of Castril, in the province of Granada, a river that rises in the Sierra de Castril and flows into the river Guadiana Menor, in the Municipalities of Benamaurel and Baza. This state-owned reservoir has a surface area of 143 ha and a total volume of 34 hm3.

With the support of Envirosuntec, S.L. (, Irrigation Community of Lomas de las Vacas and Municipality of Castril.