Low-maintenance Smarty River for the CHE in Tudela and Alagon

Smarty River de bajo mantenimiento para la CHE en Tudela y Alagon

Arantec has adapted the flow monitoring stations in Tudela and Alagón to the new low-maintenance typology for the Ebro River Basin Authority (Navarra and Zaragoza).

The Ebro River Basin is located in the northeastern quadrant of the Iberian Peninsula and covers a total area of 85,660 square kilometers. It is the largest river basin in Spain, representing 17% of the Spanish peninsular territory. Its natural boundaries are the Cantabrian Mountains and the Pyrenees to the north, the Iberian System to the southeast, and the Coastal-Catalan chain to the east.

The Ebro River, with a total length of 910 kilometers, flows in a northwest-southeast direction from the Cantabrian Mountains to the Mediterranean, where it forms a magnificent delta. Along its course, it collects waters from the Pyrenees and Cantabrian Mountains on its left bank through important tributaries such as the Aragon, Gállego, Cinca, and Segre rivers. On its right bank, it receives tributaries from the Iberian System, typically less abundant in flow, such as the Oja, Iregua, Jalón, and Guadalope rivers. In total, there are approximately 12,000 kilometers of main river network.

The basin is home to numerous lakes, primarily in mountainous areas, known as “ibones” or Pyrenean lakes. These lakes are small in size but of great beauty. In other areas, there are also examples such as the Sariñena Lagoon in Huesca, the Montcornés Lagoon in Lleida, or the saline Chiprana Lagoon in Zaragoza. Special mention should be made of the Gallocanta Lagoon, with a basin area of 541 square kilometers. It is located within an endorheic basin (without exterior outlet), but it falls within the scope of the Ebro River Basin Authority.

In this vast and diverse territory, around 3,200,000 inhabitants live, which represents a density of 37 inhabitants per square kilometer. It is a sparsely populated region in the European context. Nearly half of the population is concentrated in Zaragoza, Vitoria, Logroño, Pamplona, Huesca, and Lleida. There is a population concentration in the central valley and large depopulated areas in the Sistema Ibérico and the Pyrenees.

The Ebro River Basin Authority has among its responsibilities the control of both the quantity and quality of surface waters (rivers, streams, lakes, and reservoirs) as well as groundwater.

The S.A.I.H. Network (www.saihebro.com) is responsible for the continuous and automatic control of surface water quantity. It consists of 236 flow monitoring stations in watercourses, 348 rain gauges, and 85 monitoring points in reservoirs

The flow data provided by the Integrated S.A.I.H. Network serves two fundamental objectives:

  • Registering the flow rates in the watercourses of the basin to improve water resource management, particularly in hydrological planning.
  • Providing information to the competent authorities during situations of flood risk and inundation, allowing them to make appropriate decisions to minimize the risk and, if necessary, restore normal conditions.

Based on the description of the Ebro River Basin and its territorial and hydrological characteristics, the Hydrographic Confederation is in the process of adapting some of the flow monitoring stations. While many points still require the existing infrastructure for flow measurement, there is a need for more agile and low-maintenance stations that leverage advancements in new technologies, complementing the existing ones.

Within this typology, the Ebro River Basin Authority has chosen to rely on Arantec Engineering for the river control at two significant points in Tudela (Navarre) and Aragón (Zaragoza).

At both locations, a radar-type river level sensor has been installed, capable of measuring up to 15 meters in height. These sensors are powered by photovoltaic panels and communicate through GPRS with the Control Center of the Ebro River Basin located in Zaragoza.

Furthermore, at the flow monitoring station in Tudela, a surface velocity sensor has been installed, which allows obtaining the flow rate of the Ebro River at this location.

The equipment has been installed on a unique structure designed by the Ebro River Basin Authority with the support of Arantec Engineering, which allows for easy and simple maintenance of the stations, as shown in the following video.

Therefore, Arantec continues to invest in innovation and continuous improvement in hydrological-hydraulic parameter monitoring processes, offering its services to the different River Basin Authorities.

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