the data, reservoir by reservoir

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Total water reserve in Spain

56,039 hm3

Ability
total

Average last 10 years

34,509
63%

In the last month, reserves have increased by 4,389 hm3, 4.9% more

Basins in worse situation

Water reserves have increased slightly in the last seven days and the total accumulated water stands at 36,413 hectometers in the last week. The water reserves of the peninsular swamps are at 66% of its capacity, according to the latest data from the weekly Hydrological Bulletin of the Ministry of Ecological Transition. With the latest data, at a general level the reservoirs continue to fill and, in addition, exceed the average water reserve of the last ten years. Of course, although the situation has also brought relief in the basins of Andalusia (31%), Murcia (25%) and Catalonia (18%), the reserves in these three regions are still well below their own average.

The data includes the volumes of water stored in all peninsular reservoirs that have a capacity greater than 5 cubic hectometers (the equivalent of the annual water consumption of 100,000 people). The data ultimately includes all the water that can be managed in Spain.

Does this mean that we are worse or better than in previous years? We are much better than in the last two seasons (2022-2023 and 2021-2022), when the lack of rain and water management left the emptiest reservoirs of this century. April rains have exceeded the average for the last decade. During these dates, the reservoirs are usually at 65.1% of their capacity.

In the following graph you can see the evolution of reserves in each hydrological year (October to September) since 1990 in all reservoirs and in each hydrographic basin.

How is the reservation in

Weekly reservoir of reservoir water with respect to total capacity in each hydrological year since data is available. Current season highlights 2023-2024the two previous years (2021-2022 and 2022-2023) and the mean of last 10 years

Source: Ministry of Ecological Transition

Furthermore, the situation is not the same in each area of ​​the Peninsula. While in areas of the northwest, such as Galicia, the reservoirs are practically full, the low level continues in the basins of Catalonia, Murcia and Andalusia, where restrictions continue and there have been several years of drought.

Spain has 374 reservoirs spread throughout the territory, with the capacity to store more than 56,000 cubic hectometers of water. How good or bad is the reserve situation at each dam? The status of each swamp can be seen on the following map.

You can filter to see only reservoirs with primary hydroelectric use (although they may have other uses as well) and those primarily used for consumption. It must be taken into account that not all reservoirs are filled in the same way or with the same seasonality.

For this reason, we compare the current situation of each reservoir with the average of the last decade on the same dates, to see which ones are in best situation and worst situation.

The situation of the reserve, reservoir by reservoir

Each square represents a reservoir. Shows the percentage of filling of the water reserve in the current week. The size of the square indicates the total capacity of the reservoir

All
Of consumption
Hydroelectric
worst situation
In a better situation

Swipe

The map shows a very uneven situation of water reserves throughout the territory. While the northern basins are above 70% of their capacity (with reservoirs practically full), in the south and Catalonia the reserves continue to be below 40% of the total water they can accumulate.

The most worrying situation is repeated in Andalusia (Guadalete-Barbate and Andalusian Mediterranean basins), Murcia (Segura) and Catalonia, where restrictions due to the drought situation still continue in a large part of the territory.

The following graph shows the current filling percentage of each basin and the comparison of reserves with data from the last decade.

In which basins are water reserves worse?

Percentage of water reserve in each hydrographic basin in the current week compared to the average of the last decade . The height of each bar indicates the total capacity of the basin

worst situation |

Best situation

Source: MITECO

It must be taken into account that the current situation of each basin depends not only on the lack of rain but also on high temperatures (evapotransporation) and the demand for water resources (irrigation, urban, industrial uses, etc.).

To get an idea of ​​how these factors influence the reserves, we compare the satellite images of the Concepción reservoir (Andalusia), to the 69% of its capacityand that of Mediano (Aragón), with reserves at 93%. These are the clear satellite images available between early and mid-April of different years.


Concepción Reservoir (Andalusia)

April-2020 – 92% capacity

April-2022 – 74% capacity

df3a8638ad.jpg

April-2024 – 61% capacity

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86fc78628c.jpg

Mediano Reservoir (Aragon)

April-2022 – 33% capacity

3febc7504f.jpg

April-2023 – 51% capacity

f372bff7d2.jpg

April-2024 – 98% capacity

448d8f0df5.jpg

Source: Copernicus

The situation of the reservoirs can be compared to that of a glass of water. Even if the tap is turned off, if the water is drunk in moderation, the reserves can be maintained. However, a continued supply cut (lack of rain) is one of the main factors that influence the glass becoming increasingly empty.

Precisely, meteorological drought occurs when there is a continued lack of precipitation. This is usually the step before water scarcity, which is when reserves are lacking for human consumption or agriculture.

And how is the rainfall? How much is it raining this year in Spain? According to the latest data from the AEMET, it is being a wetter season than usual. Compared to 2021-2022, the driest recent year, the rains have left much more water in the peninsular territory.

How much is it raining this year?

Accumulated precipitation in the hydrological yearcompared to the historical averagethe average of the last decade and the driest recent year 2021-2022. In the green stripe are all accumulated precipitation of the historical series recorded until that month

Source: Ministry of Ecological Transition, AEMET

Although the accumulated rainfall in this hydrological year is above usual, some areas of Spain are in a situation of prolonged drought due to the lack of rain. Precisely, some of the hydrographic basins that have had the worst rainy year are those whose water reserves are in the worst situation.

This is the case of the Segura basins, the internal basins of Catalonia or the Andalusian Mediterranean, where it has rained around half of the usual amount since October.


In which areas has it rained the most and the least this year?

Accumulated precipitation in the hydrological year 2023-2024 and comparison with the historical average of the same week in each area

Less rain than normal |

More rain

Source: Ministry of Ecological Transition, AEMET

Even so, the lack of rain (the closing of the tap) is not the only cause that the reservoirs are half empty in Catalonia and much of the south of the Peninsula. For example, drought-affected areas may have good reserves.

Because? Because the management of water demand for human consumption is key: urban supply (domestic, tourist, municipal), irrigation, livestock, industry and other recreational uses (such as irrigation of golf courses).

It must be taken into account that electricity generation is not a consumptive use. That is, this water is not consumed while it is used to produce energy but normally ends up in the next reservoir where it can be used for other agricultural, urban, etc. uses.

Below is the distribution of water demand in the different Hydrographic Confederations (CH) currently. The figures come from the estimates available in the Hydrological Plans of each of the CHs for the 2022-2027 cycle. The data refers to the current scenario and shows that the main demand for water for consumption is agriculture.


Irrigation consumes most of the water

Distribution of water demands by hydrographic basins according to use: Agriculture and Livestock,
urban supply, industrial use and other uses (recreational)

Source: Hydrological plans 2022-2027 of the hydrographic conferences

In Spain, more than 30,000 cubic hectometers of water are used for human consumption, according to data collected from each hydrographic basin. As seen in the previous graph, 81% (the vast majority) are used for agriculture and livestock, 15% for urban use, 4% for industrial use and 0.3% for recreational use.

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