Water abstraction project
In 1848, a Royal Order issued by Isabel II appointed the engineers, Juan Rafo and Juan de Ribera, to draw up a project to end the water supply problem besetting Madrid. The two engineers designed and constructed a gravity dam and a canal almost 70 kilometres long with a reservoir of 48,000 cubic metres. This infrastructure would carry water from the River Lozoya to the city of Madrid and supply up to five times the population of that time.
Canal de Isabel II's origin
Juan Bravo Murillo, president of the Council of Ministers, was so enthusiastic about the proposal that he considered it to be the solution he had long been searching for. With this conviction, the minister concluded that it was time to make Rafo and Ribera's preliminary project a reality. Its approval became final by means of Royal Decree on 18 June 1851. The decree provided for the construction of a reservoir and a channel measuring more than 70 kilometres in length to carry water from the Lozoya River to Madrid and would become the starting point for what we know today as Canal de Isabel II.
The water from the Lozoya reached Madrid
On the 24th of June 1858, water from the Lozoya River reached Madrid for the first time, thus, ended one of the most important civil engineering works of the time and Queen Isabel II opened the Madrid water supply. The milestone was commemorated through the instalment of a fountain in San Bernardo Street.