Thursday, 1st October 2020

Flood Forecasting and Optimal Management of Water Resources, Two Successes of the Guadiana River Basin Authority (Spain)

Confederación Hidrográfica del Guadiana. Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente

Areas of Activity: Automation and Control Systems

Sectors of Operation: Air Quality



“Thanks to the information provided by the Automatic Hydrological Information System, we can act in an accurate way on regulation infrastructures. As an example, in a flooding episode of January 2013, we managed to lower flooding surface by 55% and reduce the costs incurred by 60%.”
Francisco BARBANCHO. Deputy Manager. Guadiana River Basin Authority. Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Affairs. Spain

The Automatic Hydrological Information System (AHIS) arises from the requirement to monitor the course of surface water to help to mitigate natural disasters in times of flooding. The AHIS of Guadiana River Basin is a network that transmits in real time the current state of levels and flows in rivers and tributaries, meteorological parameters and reservoir water, as well as outflows from the reservoirs themselves.

The AHIS not only allows flooding to be detected in advance so that the necessary arrangements can be made for its optimum lamination, but it is also the basis for the historical archiving of data on the circulating flows and balance of water in reservoirs, that make it possible to study and research the status and evolution of the water courses.

In addition, the Guadiana AHIS is a key tool to preserve water resources of the River Basin. It guarantees an optimal and more effective management. The evidence for this is the more than 460,000 hectares of irrigated land, or the allocation of water resources for agricultural, industrial, hydroelectric use, or as drinking water supply, or the fact that it favours the reuse of the water. It makes it possible to maintain the safeguards provided for longer and with greater security, protecting the stocks held based on demand.

The AHIS also includes a self-provisioning communications network which supports the transmission of data from the metering stations, and also provides access to voice and data communications in rural areas where telecommunications operators do not have coverage. Thus, it becomes an essential redundant system for the River Basin Authority that ensures total robustness and efficiency.


· Guarantee optimal and exceptional management of flood situations, thanks to the knowledge of the hydrological and hydraulic condition of the basin.
· Improve the safety of the water infrastructures.
· Alleviate the damage caused by the floods and the costs incurred.
· Facilitate water planning, ensuring optimal exploitation of water bodies, encouraging savings and ensuring the water demand satisfaction (ecological flow, irrigation, agricultural uses, industrial, hydropower, water supply to the population…).
· Support decision-making during episodes of drought and scarcity of resources, in order to minimise the resulting impacts and optimise the flows served to other network users.