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The wettest March in the last 27 years has enabled water reserves to reach average historical figures

null The wettest March in the last 27 years has enabled water reserves to reach average historical figures

The wettest March in the last 27 years has enabled water reserves to reach average historical figures


Canal de Isabel II insists on the need to continue using this natural resource efficiently, making small changes in households

• Despite a 23% rise in one month, reservoirs stood at 73.4% at the end of March, 1.7 points below the average.

• Drinking water consumption in the Community of Madrid was 10.1% lower this month than in March of last year.

• The water flow in March is equivalent to six months of water consumption and this is the best figure reached for this month since 1991.

The water reserves stored in the 14 reservoirs managed by Canal de Isabel II reached the end of March at
73.4% of their total capacity, a considerably higher percentage than that recorded a month ago, but it is still 1.7 points below the average recorded during this period over the last 20 years. Last year, during the same period, the reservoirs exceeded 82% of their maximum capacity.

Therefore, despite the figures still being slightly lower than average historical figures, the situation changed radically in March, which was one of the wettest months on record. At the beginning of March, the difference in terms of the percentage of water stored in the Canal de Isabell II reservoirs compared with the average was 18.4%, since the reservoirs were at 50.6% of their maximum capacity.

Furthermore, after a start to the hydrological year with an accumulated water consumption which, in November, was 5.1% higher than the in the previous year, the figure recovered with the abrupt drop in water consumption during February and the noticeable drop in March: 10.1% less water was consumed than in March 2017. The accumulated consumption since the hydrological year began, on 1 October 2017, is 1.2% higher than that recorded during the same period of the previous year.

The recently ended month of March was the second best month in the last 30 years, in terms of water flow collected in the reservoirs, only exceeded by 1991: 259.8 cubic hectometres of water reached the reservoirs, which is equivalent to around 6 months’ consumption in the entire Community of Madrid. Average flows during March are 120.1 cubic hectometres. However, the water accumulated since the hydrological year
began, continues to be negative, since, during the initial months of the hydrological year, 364.7 cubic hectometres reached the reservoirs, compared with the average historical figure of 500.8. i.e., 27% lower than the average.

The heavy rainfall recorded from the end of February to the middle of March is the main reason for the notable increase in water flows: for example, while the reservoirs received 12 m3/s on 26 February, on 10 March the figure reached 269 m3/s, the maximum flow obtained so far this hydrological year.

March was an extraordinarily wet month: during this month, 184.0 millimetres of rainfall were collected by the Canal de Isabel II dams, while the average figure stands at 55.2 millimetres.

Despite the hydrological situation changing drastically during the last month, Canal de Isabel II, as established by line 1 of its Strategic Plan, to guarantee the water supply to the population, continues to develop information campaigns aimed at raising awareness among the population to control consumption. It is impossible to predict the amount of rainfall this spring, and therefore, in any event, it is essential to use this natural resource as efficiently as possible.

In turn, the public company permanently develops different plans and measures to conserve the water intended for human consumption. In recent years, it has promoted the development of reclaimed water for public and industrial uses. In a year such as this one, this has enabled savings of almost 20 hm3 of drinking water (approximately 15 days of consumption in the Community of Madrid). In addition, thanks to the plans to renovate the network and regular campaigns for the detection of leaks, it has managed to reduce the volume of losses in diverted water by 70%.

Lastly, public awareness campaigns and progressive tariffs which penalise very high consumption have enabled Canal, with water rates which are 23% lower than the average in the rest of Spain, to reduce the per capita consumption by almost 30% since the last drought in 2005.

In this respect, the company highlights the small efforts that can reduce water consumption in households, such as turning of the tap when cleaning your teeth (saving 12 litres per minute); using the dishwasher and the washing machine with a full load (saving 30 litres per use) and having a shower instead of a bath (saving 150 litres per shower). All these recommendations and others can be found on the website www.sumatealretodelagua.com and on the Facebook page /elretodelagua.

Canal de Isabel II was founded more than 165 years ago to supply water to the city of Madrid. It employs more than 2500 people working daily to provide a service to more than 6 million people in the region. It is an innovative company, a leader in its sector, and internationally recognised for its management of the integrated water cycle. It operates 14 reservoirs; 78 spring tappings; 14 drinking water treatment plants; 17,434 kilometres of conveyance and distribution channels; 133 pumping stations for drinking water and 131 for waste water; 14,018 kilometres of sewage networks; 63 storm tanks; 823 kilometres of sewers and outfalls; 157 waste water treatment stations; and 512 kilometres of reclaimed water channels.

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