Madrid’s Reservoirs Began the Hydrological Year 7.7 per cent below average

null Madrid’s Reservoirs Began the Hydrological Year 7.7 per cent below average

Madrid’s Reservoirs Began the Hydrological Year 7.7 per cent below average


The Madrid Region’s hydrological status is normal, but Canal de Isabel II reiterates the importance of using water in a responsible and efficient way

  • The reservoirs began the year beating historical records, but since April they have been below average.
  • In the 2018-2019 hydrological year water consumption by the people of Madrid was 3.1% higher than the previous year.
  • Canal manages 13 reservoirs to supply more than 6 million people in Madrid. Customers give our service an 8.53 approval rating. 

Water reserves in the Madrid Region began the new hydrological year 7.7% lower than the average over the past 30 years. Reservoirs are currently at 51% of maximum capacity, almost 25% lower than a year ago. Although this level is below average, the situation is still one of normality, but the company emphasises the importance of efficient and respectful water consumption.

The hydrological year which is used for studying the state of river basins begins on 1st October. Rivers and the ways they evolve are measured over this period, which is adapted to their life cycle: during the months of July, August and September river water flows and levels reach their lowest, and so in October, when the flows usually begin to rise, the hydrological year begins again.

Canal de Isabel II’s reservoirs ended the last hydrological year at 52.7% of their capacity, holding 497.6 cubic hectometres, the lowest figure since 2012. These values, which are below the average for 1st October (at 60.4% of maximum capacity), ended a year marked by scarce rainfall and inflows, and by a change in reserves from historic highs from the beginning of the year up to the beginning of December to below average since the beginning of April.

Inflows from rivers to the Madrid Region’s supply system during the 2018-2019 hydrological year were 322 cubic hectometres: This figure is very well below the 713 recorded in the previous hydrological year and the 761 average. In the historical data recorded by Canal de Isabel II since 1913, there have only been nine years with lower inflows than the one that has just ended. Compared to the previous hydrological year, the data recorded in March stands out: while in the same month in 2018 the reservoirs collected almost 260 cubic hectometres, twice the average for that month (121.4 hm3), the inflows in the same month of 2019 were only 30.1 cubic hectometres.

Water consumption in the region this hydrological year was 3.1% higher than in the previous period: the year began with consumption below that recorded a year earlier, but between January and July monthly consumption was much higher than in the previous year. This increase in consumption was due to the fact that the same months of the previous hydrological year had notably more rain, and when it rains in the region water consumption falls. In March 2019, consumption was 18% higher year-on-year, but in September, the last month of the hydrological year, the people of Madrid consumed 6% less water than in 2018. In total, over the whole hydrological year, the people of Madrid consumed 500.8 cubic hectometres of water.

In the last hydrological year, consumption peaked on 27th June, when consumption reached on average, 21.8 m3/s, while the lowest figure was on Friday 19th April (Good Friday), with an average consumption of 10.4 m3/s.


In the Madrid Region, in order to provide drinking water supply services to more than 6 million people, Canal has 2,800 employees who manage, among other facilities, 13 reservoirs with a total storage capacity of 943.55 cubic hectometres of water; 78 groundwater catchments; 14 drinking water treatment plants; 17,601 km of water supply and distribution network; 131 drinking water pumping stations and more than 300 forebays.

According to data collected by this publicly owned company of the Madrid Regional Government, in the first half of 2019 users gave the company an average rating of 8.53, making the service provided by Canal the best-rated home supplier.


Efficient and responsible water use in the Madrid Region is part of line 1 of Canal de Isabel II’s Strategic Plan until 2030, which focuses on ensuring supply.

This line, entitled “Safeguarding Supply”, will allow Canal to maintain the current security level under different climate change scenarios, even with sustained population increases. Its centrepiece is Plan -25, which aims to reduce the volume of water used for consumption per inhabitant by 25% by 2030.

To achieve this, the company is implementing plans and actions aimed at improving its efficiency and conserving the resources available to supply the population. These include extending the reclaimed water supply network, which over 2018 enabled savings of more than 12 cubic hectometres of drinking water. It also enabled a 70% reduction in water loss due to leaks by investing in renewal of its piping network and systematic campaigns for leak detection.

Public awareness actions and progressive tariffs have enabled Canal, with a water price 23% lower than the national average, to reduce per capita consumption by almost 30% since the last drought in 2005. In this regard, the company reminds users that small water-saving gestures each day are very useful. For example, turning off the tap while you brush your teeth, taking a shower instead of a bath or using the washing machine and dishwasher only with a full load. All these tips are available online at

Canal de Isabel II is the publicly owned company that manages the integrated water cycle in the Madrid Region. It was founded almost 170 years ago to supply water to the city of Madrid and today it employs over 2800 people who work every day to serve more than 6 million people in the region. It is an innovative company, a leader in its sector and recognised worldwide for its management of all phases of the integrated water cycle: capture, adduction, treatment, distribution, sanitation, purification and reuse.


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