August 3, 2023
A case of resilience: the modernization of the Cuevas del Almanzora Reservoir
Ayesa has recently completed work to modernise the reservoir’s drainage system. The ten-month project, carried out by Act Sistemas as part of a 50/50 joint venture alongside Construcciones Alpi, also saw it design, manufacture and install control and operating features.
Ayesa, a global provider of engineering and technology solutions, has recently completed work to improve the drainage system of the Cuevas del Almanzora
Reservoir to avoid leakages and prevent flooding. Located in Almeria, the infrastructure has a capacity of 168,70 hm3 and supplies water to 120,000 people.
The project, led by the regional Directorate-General for Water Infrastructure in Andalusia, part of the regional Department of Agriculture, Fishing, Water and Rural Development, came about due to the need to replace the system’s valves and gates before they deteriorated and caused significant leakage. The electromechanical parts of the system were also modernised and remote-control features added to allow them to be monitored and operated at a distance, meaning staff no longer have to physically go the conduit, not an easy task given that it is several metres underwater.
Ayesa has been responsible for modernising the mechanical elements of the system, as well as designing, manufacturing and installing control and operating panels for them. This has included valve and gate sensors, and has also involved programming and installing PLCs as well as a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system.
SCADA has been a key part of this project as it allows the reservoir’s drainage system to be monitored and controlled remotely through the collection, transmission and analysis of data in real time.
The project also saw Ayesa supply and install CCTV using fibre-optic cables to allow the valves, gates and conduit to be monitored from a distance.
Protecting nearby areas from flooding
Jaime Argüelles, Director of IT Services within Ayesa’s Resources & Environment division, explains how the project has meant increased safety: ‘With a modern drainage Press Release system now in place, maintenance tasks can be easily carried out. This means that reservoir drawdown can be safely performed when needed, thereby protecting nearby areas, such as Cuevas de Almanzora, Los Lobos, Villaricos and Palomares, from flooding’.
Ayesa has also carried out work on the fibre-optic cables at the dam to allow data to be sent to the head office of the Hidrosur Automatic Water Information System (SAIH in Spanish) in Málaga, thereby allowing the local authorities to know the status of the dam at all times.
Jaime also stresses that ‘the Directorate-General for Water Infrastructure is responsible for ensuring these kinds of structures are properly maintained’ and that ‘keeping drainage systems in good conditions is particularly important as reservoirs are a key part of our water supply system’
In terms of this specific project, he notes: ‘it is source of great pride for us to have been part of this ambitious project, led by the Regional Government of Andalusia, to bring the Cuevas del Almanzora Reservoir into the 21st century. Despite being an extremely complex undertaking, the dam has been successfully automated using cutting-edge technology and an effective emergency plan can now be put into place.’
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