The reservoirs of the Sierra de Guadarrama, life reserves
The Sierra de Guadarrama has a large number of rivers and streams. They take advantage of the strategic geographical location of the region and spring and flow along the mountain slopes before flowing into a bigger “brother”. The waters of some of these are collected, creating authentic life reserves.
In the Sierra de Guadarrama – Alto Manzanares there are four reservoirs that already form part of the natural landscape and are one of the aquatic “pantries” of the Madrid region. Also, a fifth reservoir, that is not in the region gets the water mainly from the Guadarrama River.
The reservoir with the biggest capacity in the Sierra de Guadarrama is called Manzanares or Santillana and covers an area of 1,044 hectares in the municipal areas of Manzanares El Real and Soto del Real. This dam, built in 1912 and expanded in 1971, has as a special feature a neo-Gothic tower of the old dam that emerges from the waters. In total, the reservoir can accumulate up to 91.2 cubic hectometres from the Manzanares River.
The Navacerrada reservoir is another important reservoir in the region. It started to work in 1969 and has an area of 93 hectares within the homonymous municipal area. This dam, used to supply water to many municipalities of the Sierra, can receive up to 11 cubic hectometres of water from the Samburiel River, as well as from the Navalmedio Reservoir via a transfer. The latter reservoir started to operate in 1969, has a capacity of 0.7 cubic hectometres, is fed by the Navalmedio River and occupies seven hectares in the municipalities of Navacerrada and Cercedilla.
The La Jarosa Reservoir is located in the municipal area of Guadarrama and has a capacity of 7.2 cubic hectometres of water from La Jarosa and Guatel streams, as well as the La Aceña Dam via a transfer. This dam, with an area of 61 hectares, started to operate in 1969.
Finally, the Valmayor Reservoir, although not in the region, collects water from the Guadarrama River thanks to a transfer. This dam was finished in 1976, has a capacity of 124.4 cubic hectometres and an area of 755 hectares.
Reservoirs are crucially important for housing the liquid element and for how they affect flora and fauna present in their surroundings. The population must be aware that water is necessary for life and that this is a limited resource that can be scarce. This awareness must always exist, not only when there is drought. This is how it is possible to save water and have more reserves for the future.