Guadiana Hydrographic Confederation

Confederación Hidrográfica del Guadiana
Avda. Sinforiano Madroñero, 12
06011 - Badajoz
Tlf. 924 212 100
Fax 924 241 852

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Guadiana Basin is located in the southwestern quadrant of the Iberian Peninsula, occupying a total area of ​​60,256 square kilometers, of which 11,600 are in Portugal and the rest in Spain. Compose a proven territory of wet and arid areas, with 33,707 km of river network. Displays the administrative uniqueness within the Atlantic basin being the only one that exists downstream of the Spanish territory of Portugal since once it reaches the border between the two countries goes into Portugal and re-establish border in the last part .

Guadiana Basin is a major claimant of irrigation water, which accentuates the weaknesses of a highly irregular flow regime. The watershed affects three autonomous territories: Lamanche Castilla, Andalusia and Extremadura.

Another peculiarity of the basin is the existence of a large aquifer in the western Channel that makes it negates the river by seepage into the ground to reappear in the "Ojos del Guadiana" later.

Structure and functions

Water Commissioner

The Water Commissioner is defined as an administrative unit directly under the President of the Hydrographic Confederation, which accounts for the following functions:

  • Proposals for concessions and authorizations relating to waters and public water channels and the establishment of servitude, surveys and modulations.
  • Keeping the Water Register, the Catalogue of private waters and Census wastewater discharge.
  • The motions under the rules of the Public Water Supply Regulations, approved by Royal Decree 849/1986 of 11 April, police in waters and streams.
  • Inspection and surveillance of farms of all uses of public waters, irrespective of their ownership and legal status to which they are received.
  • The processing of applications for the creation of user communities and the approval of its regulations and ordinances, as well as those related to incidents related to these communities.
  • The issues relating to the inland waters, including conducting appraisals and hydrology studies.
  • The study and proposal of fees for use of assets of public water and waste control.
  • The analysis and control of the quality of inland waters, as well as proposing and monitoring of water quality programs.
  • The direction of childcare river.
  • The works of mere preservation of public waterways.
  • The preparation and monitoring of statistics that allow the monitoring of the evolution of the quantity and quality of inland waters in relation to the characteristics defined in the Water Plans.
  • The statistics on consumption at different water uses.


Technical direction

The Royal Decree 984/1989 art.5, as amended by Royal Decree 281/1994 of 18 February, you edit attributes to the Technical Directorate of the following functions:

  • Studies, drafting of project, management and exploitation of works and exploitation funded agency or entrusted to it by the State, the Autonomous Communities, local corporations, public or private entities or individuals.
  • Technical oversight and approval of projects to be financed with own funds of the Agency.
  • The actions aimed at achieving more rational use of water.
  • The study and proposal of the charges referred to in Article 106 of the Water Act and the rates and prices relating to tax on water and other goods of public water, except those regulated in Articles 104 and 105 of that Act
  • Execution of orders desembalsando.
  • The appointment of directors and inspectors of works.

This relationship should be complemented by other functions derived from different types of rules, whether the delegation of powers of Governing Bodies of the Ministry of Environment, sectoral, as is the case with legislation on environmental impact, safety of dams and reservoir and the health and safety, or relating to the financing of investments from European Union funds.


Secretaría General

The tasks assigned to the General Secretariat by Article 6 of Royal Decree 984/1989 of 28 July, organizational structure and functions of the units under the presidency of the Hydrographic Confederations are:

  •      The management of issues relating to the functioning of the Governing Board, the Water Council, the Assembly of users and the performance of the Secretariat of the mentioned organs.
  •      The General and the internal system.
  •      The management of economic and financial activity, internal accounting of the Agency, and the paymaster habiliatación.
  •      The handling of personnel matters at the service of the Confederacy.
  •      The administrative procedures concerning the public and processing infor and proposed resolution of appeals and complaints.
  •      Adiministrativa management procurement, asset management and processing, and motion for a resolution records of expropriation.
  •      Supervision and coordination of information in administrative matters.
  •      Legal reporting.


Water Planning Office

According to the R.D. 984/1989 of 2 August, which determines the organizational structure Office of the President from the Water Boards are functions of the Office of Planning as follows:


  •      Collecting and, where appropriate, carry out the work and studies needed for preparing, monitoring and reviewing the Basin Hydrological Plan in accordance with Art. ELA 39.2 Water Act.
  •      Report support the River Basin Management Plan of the proposed actions by users.
  •      The drafting of management plans for groundwater withdrawals declared overexploited or at risk of being and of those others in the process of salinization.

Water plans

For administrative purposes in the basin of the Guadiana in the Spanish territory defined Hydrological Plans whose jurisdiction is as follows:

Hydrological Plan I covers the portion of the Guadiana basin from its headwaters fall to the confluence of river Múrtigas the Portuguese border, including its own watershed and its tributaries in all Spanish territory.

Water Plan II comprises solely the watershed of the river Guadiana in the province of Huelva, from the confluence of the joke, including the river of it, until it empties into the sea, and Ias watershed of rivers Stones , Odiel and Tinto and interbasin corresponcientes of direct discharge into the Atlantic Ocean.

A Hydrological Plan is a document that establishes a water use management in the area of ​​a basin for a specified period.

Define the guidelines for applications and uses of the water. Sets broad guidelines and priorities for a comprehensive and balanced management of the resource. Sets the priority of uses that are derived from sectoral planning (agriculture, livestock, urban supply, industrial, etc.). To which the Plan is subject, and services, seeking a balance that modulates global interests, introduce rationality in resource management and, ultimately, preserve natural systems.

The time horizon of the Plan is twofold: 10-20 years, with periodic reviews provided for terms not exceeding eight years.

A long and complex development

Plans have performed a staged process that has lasted more than ten years.

Have been developed in a technical front, global analysis and resource exploration in the basin, relative to other basins and the benchmark for other countries' experiences. We also have developed in an administrative field of public information and participation.

The process has required great efforts of dialogue and consultation between all parties involved, namely: Central ADMINISTRATION, representatives of the three autonomous regions as part of the basin and users.

The proposal of the Water Plans Guadiana Basin obtained under the Water Board of the basin, a collegial body of the Confederacy in April 1995.Esta proposal was submitted to the Ministry of Environment, after which it was submitted to report National Water Council, which also obtained their agreement in April 1998.


Its overall objectives are to get the best satisfaction of water demands and to balance and harmonize regional and sectorial development, increasing the availability of the resource, protecting its quality, saving their jobs and streamlining its use, in harmony with the environment and other resources natural.


  • A reliable estimate of available water resources, surface and underground
  • Analyze the current consumption and resource demands according to uses and destinations and carry out forward-looking
  • Meet the criteria of equity water needs for the performance of human activities and sustainable development in different areas and areas of the basin
  • Reconcile and modular aspirations of the plaintiffs
  • Set priorities and compatibility of uses, assignments of resources and reserves, endowments yield
  • Placing special emphasis on mejorade the water quality and the fight against contamination
  • Raise basic standards for irrigation improvements and changes, which constitutes the most voluminous demand of the basin, in search of more efficient consumption and less environmental impact
  • Formulate measures for the protection and recovery of the resource and its environment, medionatural preservation, soil conservation and management plans.
  • Rationalize water management
  • Apply coordination with sectoral energy plans, in order to attain a better exploitation of reservoirs and hydroelectric dams, safeguarding the minimum ecological flow
  • To study the hydrological extremes and propose systems to protect against floods and to combat drought
  • Organizing and managing information on water in the basin in its quantitative and qualitative aspects

Integrated management

Surface and groundwater

The Water Law defines water as a resource unit. Establishing an identity of nature and function between surface water and groundwater, which, together, must be subordinate to public interest and in the service of the nation.

Hydrological Plans Guadiana basin consider the relationship and interdependence between surface water, groundwater and discharges into the sea.

Postulate a joint management of the waters, which have a series of steps to identify the available water resources, surface and groundwater.

Also enhance the awareness and use of groundwater and announced an intensification of the hydrogeological investigation.

The protection of the aquatic environment and the environmental dimension of the plans

The plans, according to the Water Act aims, among other objectives, to rationalize water use in harmony with the environment and other natural resources. This incorporates a broad set of environmental standards.

Water quality

The control and the fight against water pollution is a major challenge for those responsible for environmental, health and water policy in the basin of the Guadiana.


In this regard the plan aims to improve water quality in the basin, primarily combat harmful waste and encourage recycling and reuse of resources.

The plans mark the quality requirements of water depending on the uses and set quality objectives for rivers in the basin, open water bodies, groundwater and sensitive areas in a coherent and achievable.

They note the guidelines and criteria for treatment and discharge actions, define the planned reuse of effluent and effluent regulations take effect.

Address the issue of salinity, they propose a series of studies and analysis and a set of solutions aimed to reduce the effects of salinity. Pose a quality control plan of water, which is based on the adequacy of the network COCA and the intensification of selective sampling and routine analysis and real-time monitoring of potential contaminants to the network episodes SAICA.

Environmental flows

Hydrological Plans Guadiana Basin provide an allocation of allowances for a minimum circulating flows are insured for environmental recovery. Provide for the setting of environmental minimum flows, establishing himself as environmental objective is to maintain the current dynamics of ecosystems or, when considered degraded, their recovery.

Perimeter protection and the conservation and recovery of the resource and its environment

The plan outlines the need for a Master Plan for use and management for the most significant reservoirs of the National Wetlands Inventory (which includes more than 840 wetlands in the basin of the Guadiana), and rules for the protection of natural areas and flora and fauna.

Determine priority criteria for delineating protection zones in the wetlands and lakes and ponds important for bird populations or their biological richness, showing listings of reservoirs, wetlands and unique spaces to be protected. Assume the natural protected areas declared by the Autonomous Communities. Promote the development of groves and plantations of trees on the banks of rivers and make an inventory of the groves, Frogs and wooded riparian areas. Include the need to carry out the environmental assessment of critical infrastructure are planned.

Soil conservation and management plans, forest

Hydrological Plans Guadiana basin are in charge of the National Forest Restoration within its scope. Adopt the provisions of the relevant administrations, focusing specifically on the conditions that these plans may pose to the water environment and infrastructure.

The management of risk, flood, floods and droughts

Protection against floods

Plans pay greater attention to flooding from runoff or overflow channels Avenue. Advocate for intensified prevention and collaboration between different administrations. Identify and classify risk areas of the basin, suggesting an arrangement of land uses and hydrologic studies of flood and waterlogging.

Within this preventive strategy, plans favor the analysis watersheds, stating that there will be a hydrological study of each river system floods generator, apart from reviewing the actual flows related to road infrastructure and hydraulics.

Decreed that all newly constructed reservoir has a flood study and an Emergency Plan. Out a program of structural measures aimed at reducing the level of damage that could cause floods and to protect certain areas associated with the channels.

In order to predict, monitor and provide flood control basin in the implementation of the Automatic Hydrological Information System (AHIS).

Combating drought


Plans face hydrological drought situations by defining a set of standards for emergency situations, notably the existence of a reserve of water uses and a program of actions that enable adequate management of critical resources.

In these extreme situations in the reservoirs will be established as a priority, the reserve requirement to ensure the supply of the populations.

In addition, specific actuation nomas develop, such as reducing hours, reducing the pressure, prohibition of certain uses, as well as adequate systems of control of it.

Water resources uses

Uses and demands


Plans devote significant attention to the study of the use of available resources, subjecting to criticism the current exploitation.

Analyze the existing demands, objectify endowments, set minimum efficiency levels and highlight the imbalances of balance demands / sumnistros, evidencing the excessive demands and potential surplus. Also, make forecasts for the future.

This study was performed for different uses of water depending on destination, including volumes and minimum ecological conditions. The plans propose a proactive and voluntary so that control the consumption of water in rivers and perform better water management in all uses and demands.

Fixing the maximum amounts for these uses and establishes criteria for assurance of supply.

Special mention goes to irrigation, which pose the greatest demand in the basin, about 90% of the total water demand. Plans accurately establish the maximum amounts of irrigation for irrigated land in the watershed.

Priority and compatibility of uses

Prioritization of applications

  • Urban uses
  • Industrial uses
  • Irrigated land
  • Energy use
  • Acuiculture
  • Recreation
  • Sports practices
  • Other uses

Apart from these uses Plans specify that minimum environmental flows must be respected in all future grants, except in the supply, establishing progressively by stretches of rivers.

Established as a limited use of safeguards flood control dams, which are respected in all the reservoirs are built and tend to their implementation in existing reservoirs successively. Plans set a preference order of exploitation, placing first those of most public utility or general, followed by introducing technical improvements that result in lower consumption of water and that cause the least negative environmental condition.

Also address the question of the compatibility of uses, so as to allow maximum use simultaneous or successive resource and public water itself, favoring the water economy.

Resource allocation and reservation

Hydrological Plans incorporate the Guadiana basin allocations and reserves for meeting current and future demands, with the maximum obtained from the application of simulation models of exploitation and protection requirements for wetlands and natural areas. With these commitments Plans have ordered and distributed resources obtained with the regulations after reaching agreements with users. Plans organize assignments and reserves the resources available for the projected applications to the horizon of ten years, within each operating system. The same holds for the horizon of twenty years.

Standards exploitation

Hydrological Plans Guadiana Basin declare their attachment to the schedules of different sectors requiring water. This formalized a wide range of rules intended to ensure better utilization of the resource in the major uses and uses.

So, develop basic standards for improvements and changes in irrigation on energy use and recharge and aquifer protection. While following the guidelines on grants and review. With regard to irrigation and agricultural uses, the plan is adapted to the National Irrigation Plan, when approved, modifications or adaptations to pursue in the areas for improvement with a series of specific actions.

Also, specify the areas likely to change in irrigation within their horizons. Establish the requirements for feasibility studies of new irrigation systems, set the selection criteria of change, specifically the information systems should incorporate irrigation and drainage networks and specify the need for future improvements or changes are carried out at environmental assessment of them.

Plans to pursue throughout this regulation more efficient water use, the adequacy of provisions and supplies to the improved management of irrigation systems. With regard to energy use, the plans essentially postulate explore the possibilities of implementation of hydropower plants and taking advantage of existing reservoirs by building contraembalses.

It emphasizes the efforts coordinaciónde Energy Administration, in collaboration with users hydroelectric and the need for guidelines for new uses and existing plants comply with the minimum ecological flow. The plan considers the development of the White Paper Groundwater, which will be taken into account in relation to the Guadiana basin, for joining them.

Set standards for the operation of the hydrogeological units, the study of overexploited aquifers and the definition of protection zones, issues that extend to supplies and catchments areas of special ecological, scenic, cultural or economic. Determine that each concession adequately justified the water needs, the required annual flow and its modulation during the year, in addition to the economic profitability of the harvest.

They point to the terms and conditions necessary for granting concessions in hydropower plants, in irrigation and groundwater.

Infrastructure and key actions

Basic infrastructures

  • Regulations
  • Urban supplies
  • Cleaning-up and treatment
  • Fenders and conditioning channels
  • Modernization and improvement of existing irrigation
  • New irrigated lands
  • Performances hydrological and riparian forest
  • Energy use
  • Performances in groundwater
  • nformation and control networks

Key actions

  • Adaptation and modulation of flow
  • Adequacy of the exploitation of reservoirs consumptive
  • Hydraulic Heritage Conservation
  • Performances of land restitution
  • Dam safety
  • Integration of users in communities
  • Program of studies and technical and administrative

The management of water information

The Automatic Hydrological Information System (AHIS) to deploy in the basin responds to the need to rationalize and streamline resource management, improving operational processes enter key objectives.


  • Inform, automatically providing real time data on climatic, hydrologic and hydraulic infrastructure status of the basin
  • The integrated management of the exploitation of reservoirs and pipelines and canals of the basin through the instant knowledge of the availability of water resources
  • Prevent short-term changes in levels and flows in rivers and reservoirs, automatically alerting in case of flood risk

To meet these objectives will provide a network of remote telemetry and to transmit and process all the variables captured. It complements all Network Automatic Alert Water Pollution.

This network, composed of automatic stations located strategically appropriate river points, provides continuous monitoring of the water. The automatic stations have their own characteristics based on measurement and data transmission in real time in normally disadvantaged. They performed continuous measurement of different parameters, provided the effect of analyzers, facilities, auxiliary equipment and systems for remote data acquisition and advanced technology.

Water plan management

Water Plans are conceived of the Guadiana Basin as a dynamic and flexible, open to constant reformulation process and reasonable in light of the studies, analysis and contributions arising from day to day, within an economic, social and cultural undergone profound changes. The Water Board may agree to review when deviations are observed in the data, assumptions or results of the plans so require. Also the Ministry of Environment may order an action reviewer. In any case, Law is expected to carry out a full review and periodic plans each year from approval.

The Council's Water Basin will be responsible for raising the Ministry reviews the plans, counting with technical support from the Office of Water Planning Agency. Corresponds to the Guadiana River Basin track plans, having to report on its development, with intervals not exceeding one year, the Governing Board, the Board of Water and Environment Ministry.

Will be subject to special monitoring aspects of the plans concerning the variation of available water resources, changes in consumption, the characteristics of water quality and remediation programs.

The great conquests of the plans

Plans are expected to drainage basin of the Guadiana, when executed step by step, with the necessary consensus in society, expressed through the Water Board, to provide:

  • Supply of the populations of the basin with water quality, which are currently deficient.
  • Better management of water, increasing efficiencies and improving the use Basin Organization in operational and administrative side.
  • A decisive impulse to the productive activities, wealth creation and generation of stable employment throughout the area of ​​the basin, and supply control interventions tailored to the principles of the new water culture.
  • The preservation and restoration of aquatic ecosystems.
  • A significant strengthening of environmental aspects in all the statements and actions of the Agency (the establishment of environmental flows in rivers, Action against water pollution, maintenance and protection of riparian areas, etc.)..
  • The minimization of conditions caused by the dams, with plans to land restitution.
  • A more streamlined and decentralized configuration of the Agency, committed to the principle of subsidiarity.

With an eye toward the future

Water is a natural element imprecindible for life. It is one of the assets that make it unique to our planet. Its greatest treasure.

  • Life emerged from the water. Life goes on depending.
  • Substantial part of the living. Is essential for metabolism and fundamental component of human diet.
  • Water is necessary for most productive activities. For agricultural crops, livestock, industry and power generation. For personal health, sanitation of our cities.
  • Courses and water bodies, rivers and lakes, are creators of landscapes, ecosystems support a cause for human settlements, unifying deterritorios.
  • They are a symbol of prosperity, manifestation of beauty, quality of life expression.
  • Water is also a guarantee for freedom and the autonomy of individuals and peoples. Expression of history and traditions. Generating cultural identity. Key to our future.
  • Water is public domain.
  • A rich heritage of all we need to protect and defend. By efficient use and solidarity that respects the common good, which is in harmony with nature, which enables a future of hope for men and women in the territories of the basin. The best legacy.