Guardians of dams

Andalusia has 80 large dams, of which 30 are managed by the Junta de Andalucía, as they belong to the intra-community basins whose powers in terms of water are transferred by the State to the community. These infrastructures, due to their potential risk, are classified as ‘category A’ in the event of a possible rupture, for that reason they require careful technical supervision and guarantee their maintenance and the safety of the areas and populations located downstream.

To this end, the Regional Ministry of the Environment and Territorial Planning of the Junta de Andalucia has entrusted Ayesa with the task of monitoring and inspecting the dams of the hydrographic demarcations of the watersheds on the Atlantic coast of Andalusia.

In total there are 16 large facilities, of which half are located in the basins of the Tinto, Odiel and Piedras rivers in the province of Huelva, and the other half in Guadalete and Barbate in the province of Cádiz. The amount of the contract amounts to 1.6 million euros and its duration is two years. Functions Ayesa has won the contract in UTE with Ofiteco, a company specializing in safety, instrumentation and auscultation of dams.

In this sense, Luis Castillo, head of the Hydraulic Works section at Ayesa, points out that it is a “very complementary” consortium of companies, since Ayesa covers all aspects of engineering, while Ofiteco is responsible for the follow-up and evaluation of the behavior of the dams “.

The work of these ‘guardians’ is to verify that the dams are technically complying with the Regulation of Dam Safety (for example, as regards hydrological safety or seasonal restraints for the laminating of floods) and as regards to design and construction (structural safety or general stability). Equally important is keeping the security documentation up to date, in what is known as a technical file. In other words, the team will carry out a series of ordinary activities, already foreseen in the bidding documents (classification proposals, XYZT document, operating rules, emergency plans, PE implementation project, etc.), but also extraordinary ones derived from possible climatological or geological events, such as intense rains or seismic movements. In these cases, it is necessary to go to the site to check the state of the infrastructure, supervising its general condition and behavior in relation to leaks, movements, landslides or relative displacements.

“In the first phases all the facilities are visited, both externally and through the galleries and internal elements, and the needs reports are made. In parallel, but in a coordinated manner, the companies in charge of the maintenance and conservation of each dam are carrying out improvement actions such as waterproofing injections or some replacement of drainage valves,” explains Castillo.

Guadalcacín II

The engineer points out that the dams on the Atlantic coast are in a good state of conservation in general. Among the 16 hydraulic works stands out the Guadalcacín II (Cádiz), in whose design Ayesa participated years ago, and more recently made the project to improve its bottom drainage. It is a dam of loose materials of great height and storage capacity, with 78 meters and 850 cubic hectometres (Hm3). On the other hand, stands out the Andévalo (Huelva), for being the most recent construction. It is still in the process of being filled and will be the third largest in the whole community, only surpassed by the previous one and by the Iznájar dam in Córdoba.

There are also two of mining origin: SotielOlivargas and Cueva de la Mora, with type of arc of gravity and vault respectively. These two must be adapted in full to the 1996 Dam and Reservoir Safety Technical Regulation. Castillo highlights the uniqueness of this contract, as it is not usual for these jobs to be outsourced. Normally, the surveillance and security tasks depend directly on competent administration (Hydrographic Confederations or the corresponding Ministry).

Finally, Castillo emphasizes that this contract “allows us to give continuity to a team of engineers very specialized in this type of work linked to the design, conservation, maintenance and management of dam safety”. Likewise, he points out that “other similar contracts will happen in other countries of Latin America, where we have already participated in the design of dams or even in India, where Ayesa has been present for years”. 

Guardians of dams

Andalusia has 80 large dams, of which 30 are managed by the Junta de Andalucía, as they belong to the intra-community basins whose powers in terms of water are transferred by the State to the community. These infrastructures, due to their potential risk, are classified as ‘category A’ in the…
Avatar de autorComunicación

AI reaches the electrical grid

The energy market is undergoing major transformation due to the increase in renewal energy, self-consumption, microgeneration, storage and new electric vehicles, amongst other things. This new context in terms of generation and consumption must go hand in hand with new technological developments to create a secure energy system. In terms…
Avatar de autorComunicación

Industry 4.0: undiagnosed, no prescription can be issued

Terms such as Industry 4.0., Digital Factory, Connected Industry or Factory of the Future have been gaining voice in recent months. They form part of the universal mantra of digital transformation. Yet, are industrial firms truly aware of this change? And, more importantly, are they clear about how and with…
Avatar de autorPedro Sanz

An expert in IT systems for utilities

¿What are the generation systems used for? The generation systems that we provide support and maintenance for are relevant so that all the energy that can be produced both in a thermal power, fuel, gas, combined cycle or even hydraulic plant enters the grid and can supply the service that…
Avatar de autorComunicación

Keys to bridge design and maintenance

The proper design of a bridge, tunnel or highway is of the utmost importance, yet no less important is their conservation. Pasquale Giordano, Head of the Structures Department at Ayesa, gives us an overview of the world of maintenance for infrastructures. What risks do bridges display and what factors must…
Avatar de autorComunicación

My tourist guide is a robot

Behind every innovative project, there is always an IT consultant at the helm, mixing the necessary technological ingredients to bring the vision to life. In the case of the new digital edition of the Repsol Guide, Ayesa has been the firm in charge of developing and implementing the digital platform…
Avatar de autorComunicación

IoT and big data, antidotes for electronic fraud

Utilities are incorporating technology at great speed and expanding it into areas where it was little feasible until now like medium and low voltage networks. However, with the mass emergence of IoT and big data, the capillarity of the power distribution lines is no longer an obstacle. In this context,…
Avatar de autorManuel Fernández Dana

Three key technologies for energy transition

Spain is en route to unveiling a Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition, with which the Government wishes to guarantee the commitments sealed with the EU as part of the Paris Agreement on Energy and Climate. At the present time, this standard is still in the draft stage, although…
Avatar de autorComunicación

Blockchain: the decentralised platform

In addition to providing the cryptographic mechanism which the current speculative cryptocurrency maelstrom is built upon, Blockchain technology is all set to break through into technological ecosystems and make some serious waves. The new paradigm offered by Blockchain technology is based on decentralisation: in order to use the technology, process…
Avatar de autorJosé María del Molino

Energy forecasting for the new energy horizon

Years have passed since the appearance of the first home solar panels. This technology, destined to revolutionise the electricity market, did not have the impact we were all expecting. So what happened? First of all, we have the problem of not being able to generate energy at night and secondly,…
Avatar de autorÁlvaro Sánchez Castañeda

The Smart Revolution Reaches the Water Sector

Water management is becoming one of the biggest challenges facing humanity, not only for economic progress, but also for sustainable development. Population growth, the tendency to concentrate in urban centres, the change towards more intensive consumer patterns and the effects of climate change, which is causing increasingly longer dry seasons…
Avatar de autor Antonio Galán

Ayesa projects (a series): a landmark in the water industry

In 1982, Ayesa won the tender to design the La Serena dam. This was to be the largest reservoir in Spain, with a capacity of 3,219 hm3, which came hand in hand with a highly unusual requirement: that the dam be built within the pre-existing Zújar dam, which would need…
Avatar de autorJosé Luis Manzanares Japón

Smart education policies

Nowadays, when we read articles about new educational trends, we cannot help but think that we are going to read about new teaching and learning methods, and about how technology is supporting these new ways of learning.
Avatar de autorRosa María Romero

Bringing engineering to life with 3D

Digital transformation has now well and truly arrived in engineering. In the age of Industry 4.0, nobody wants infrastructures to get left behind, and a new model for creating and managing construction project life cycles is about to take the sector into the world of 3D. This model is called…
Avatar de autorComunicación

A road simulator: or, how to use virtual reality in BIM

If we consider the involvement of BIM technology (seeing things in 3D) in infrastructural projects to be a big step forward for engineering, then the use of virtual reality in road designs is somewhat of a revolution.
Avatar de autorComunicación

High-flying manufacturing engineering

Is it more expensive to assemble a piece of furniture yourself, or buy it ready-made from the shop? The answer to this question is simple if we just look at the price tag, but it’s not so easy if we ask ourselves how much our time is worth.
Avatar de autorPedro Sanz

In search of ways to reduce power loss

Every year, electricity companies work hard to establish how much power is lost from their networks, which – according to the latest figures – amounts to over €150m in Spain alone.
Avatar de autorManuel Rodríguez Urbina

Our blog

El conocimiento es el emblema de Ayesa y este blog pretende ser un lugar donde los empleados compartan su experiencia en los ámbitos de la ingeniería, la transformación digital y la tecnología Smart.

Estamos comprometidos con la innovación, la calidad de vida y los avances tecnológicos.