In spite of its strategic importance and immense socio-economic relevance, water is usually not managed as a scarce commodity. This is due, in part, to the difficulty of knowing in detail the spatial and temporal distribution of water flows, unevenly distributed in space and time, which would require significant financial resources available specifically designed for this but also influenced by other factors, including historical abundance of this resource in many regions and also the need to invest significant financial resources in maintaining networks of pipes and other underground , which, though less visible , are also necessary .


At IH Cantabria we strive to acquire an extensive and thorough knowledge of water flows , including their variations in time and space, as this is the starting point for any panning and management project. The main goal is therefore to, based on statistics and numerical modeling tools,  combine efficiency and eqaulity criteria to propose solutions thatmake compatible the availability of resources with current and future demands .

While the quality and quantity of the input data is crucial to establish a framework of rationality and objectivity in the decision -making process,  measures can not be derived from a mathematical algorithm in a computer program. It is at this point that we must include socio-economic, environmental, cultural , etc. aspects, all of which are of great importance. In short , management and planning of the water cycle is an activity that integrates multiple disciplines and methods, and must be addressed from an integrated perspective, experience and participation.

Some relevant jobs:

- Study of water resources of the rivers of the northern slope of Cantabria

DATE : 2005
CLIENT: Cantabria Waste Company. Government of Cantabria
TASKS: Daily calculation of flows within the river's natural regime at 57 points distributed throughout the 12 major rivers in the  Northern Cantabria
basin, for the period between 1970 and 2003.

- Technical studies for drafting the Upper Supply Plan of Cantabria ( PAALCAN ) 

DATE : 2007
CLIENT: Ministry of Environment of the Government of Cantabria
TASKS: Characterization of resources and demands; study of the hydraulic operation of the overall
water distribution system, estimation of investment costs, operation and maintenance of the system and 

 

-Guide to good practices for efficient management of municipal services water supply. Application to the Principality of Asturias (Spain)

DATE : 2009
CLIENT: Asturias Water Consortium ( CADASA )
TASKS: Suggestions for improvement in the
water service management of  the Principality of Asturias based on an analysis of the general situation of water supply systems in the region and the water-saving measures  and efficiency improvements applied.
 

- Water Plan 2010-2015 for the Cantabrian Region (Spain) Programa de medidas

DATE : 2010
CLIENT: Ministry of Environment of the Government of Cantabria
TASKS: Analysis of the results of a public participation process in rivers linked the northern slope of Cantabria to develop the Hydrological Plan 2010-2015

Published in Rivers

IH Cantabria viene desarrollando desde hace casi una década una importante labor de investigación, desarrollo y transferencia en el campo del análisis de los caudales ecológicos.

La consideración de criterios medioambientales en la planificación y gestión de los recursos hídricos, ha motivado la necesidad del desarrollo de herramientas y metodologías específicas para la estimación de caudales de mantenimiento.

En este ámbito, la experiencia del IH Cantabria se sustenta en el desarrollo de proyectos de investigación punteros en algunos aspectos de este área de conocimiento, como pueden ser la estimación de caudales ecológicos en estuarios o la consideración en la definición de los mismos de criterios de calidad de aguas.

Fruto de este conocimiento es la realización de diversos trabajos para diferentes organismos y administraciones del agua a nivel nacional, y la participación de personal del Instituto en el "Grupo de Trabajo de Caudales Ambientales ", encargado por el Ministerio de Medio Ambiente de la elaboración de directrices en esta materia.

Algunos trabajos relevantes:

- Cálculo de regímenes de caudales ecológicos en puntos de la red fluvial de Navarrapry1

FECHA: Mayo 2004
CLIENTE: Departamento de Medio Ambiente, Ordenación del territorio y Vivienda. Gobierno de Navarra
TRABAJO REALIZADO: Cálculo de un régimen de caudales ecológicos mediante la integración de métodos hidrológicos e hidrobiológicos en 100 puntos de la red fluvial de Navarra sometidos, en muchos casos, a una fuerte presión debido a las demandas para uso agrícola.

 

- Plan de investigación integral para la caracterización y diagnóstico de los sistemas acuáticos de Cantabria: Estudio de caudales ecológicos en la red hidrográfica de Cantabriapry2

FECHA: Abril, 2007
CLIENTE: Empresa de Residuos de Cantabria
TRABAJO REALIZADO: Estimación del régimen de caudales ecológicos en ríos costeros, con fuertes estiajes estivales, sometidos a importantes detracciones de caudal para abastecimiento urbano e industrial.

 

- Cálculo de regímenes de caudales ecológicos en los ríos Cinca y Gállego de la cuenca del Ebro

FECHA: Junio 2008
CLIENTE: Comunidad general de Riegos Alto Aragón
TRABAJO REALIZADO: Estimación de un régimen de caudales ecológicos mediante la integración de métodos hidrológicos e hidrobiológicos en 9 puntos de los ríos Cinca y Gállego (Huesca), cuyo régimen hidrológico se ve severamente afectado por la regulación y la toma de agua para abastecimiento, regadío y producción de energía.

 

- Determinación del régimen de Caudales ecológicos en el río Agaunzta (Cuenca del Oria, Gipuzkoa)pry4

FECHA: Diciembre, 2008
CLIENTE: Departamento de desarrollo sostenible. Diputación foral de Gipuzkoa
TRABAJO REALIZADO: Estimación de un régimen de caudales de mantenimiento mediante la integración de métodos hidrológicos e hidrobiológicos en 6 puntos de río Agauntza (Gipuzkoa), en una zona de alto valor ecológico. En el estudio se analizaron las repercusiones de diferentes alternativas de gestión del embalse de Lareo.

 

- Calibración de series mensuales y desagregación diaria de series de caudales fluviales en el ámbito de las cuencas de Galicia costa, para la evaluación de regímenes de caudales ecológicos

FECHA: Julio de 2011
CLIENTE: Aquática Ingeniería. SL (cliente final: Aguas de Galicia)
TRABAJO REALIZADO: Determinación de caudales ecológicos en las masas de agua de la Demarcación de Galicia Costa empleando series sintéticas y modelos hidrológicos de caudal base.

Published in Rivers

The definition of the hydraulic behavior of a river channel is the basis to plan comprehensive strategies for the  standardization of the protection of people and property from flooding, taking into consideration the environmental needs of the river. This definition can be done with  varying degrees of detail and using several different methodological approaches. In this sense, IH Cantabria's experience ranges from the development and application of two dimensional models to the characterization of different channels or the flood analysis using satellite imagery. AS a consequence of our knowledge of river hydraulics, IH Cantabria has conducted characterization studies of forecasting and flood risk in river systems, as well as several projects concerning defenses, protection and recovery of margins, planning and management of river areas, etc..

Some relevant work

- Feasibility study for the development of a tourist resort in Loreto-Paradise (Baja California Sur, Mexico)

DATE: 2006
CLIENT: FADESA SA - Engineering Aquatica S. L.
TASKS: Characterization of flood risk and erosion in a complex system composed of rivers, lakes and coastal area. Planning activities in river channels and lakes, and designing a strategy for coastal protection.

 

- Mapping of flood risk in the municipality of Polanco (Cantabria)

DATE: 2008
CLIENT: Ministry of the Presidency of the Government of Cantabria.
TASKS: Definition of flood zones in the municipality of Polanco for different probabilities of occurrence using mathematical modeling, taking into account  extreme flooding events in the channels and tidal influence.


- Technical and Cartographic Drafting Plan for Civilian Flood Risk Protection of Cantabria. (INUNCANT)

DATE: 2009
CLIENT: Civil Protection Department of the Government of Cantabria.
TASKS: Development of hazard  and flood risk
maps using mathematical modeling in the basins of Cantabria.

- Flood risk analysis on fluvial flood effects at the confluence of rivers Sar and Ulla in the TM Padrón (Galicia, Spain)

DATE: 2010
CLIENT: Aquatica Engineering S. L. and Toponor SA
TASKS: Assessing flood risk in the area of the confluence of rivers Sar and Ulla, using advanced numerical tools, both in hydrology and hydraulic calculations. The latter were developed with the two-dimensional model
SRH-2D

Published in Rivers

Los trabajos de IH Cantabria en el análisis de riesgos ambientales se centran en aspectos relacionados con la escasez de recursos hídricos, la contaminación de las aguas y las inundaciones fluviales, contando estas últimas con un apartado específico.

Los cambios en el ciclo hidrológico motivados por las alteraciones de diverso tipo que tienen lugar en las cuencas o el cambio climático, constituyen un aspecto de especial relevancia para la estimación de los recursos hídricos, por un lado, y de las potenciales afecciones al medio natural, por otro.

En este sentido, la caracterización de los riesgos hidrológicos e hidromorfológicos en ríos son una línea de trabajo prioritaria de IH Cantabria, que se ha desarrollado enormemente en los últimos años con los trabajos llevados a cabo por el mismo para la aplicación de la Directiva Marco del Agua en diversas Demarcaciones Hidrográficas.

La evaluación del riesgo de contaminación de las aguas continentales, es otro campo en el que el IH Cantabria cuenta con abundante experiencia, tanto desde la perspectiva de la caracterización, análisis y modelado de su calidad físico-química y biológica, como desde el punto de vista del establecimiento de medidas para su control y remediación.

Entre dichos estudios cabe señalar los relativos a la calidad del agua en ríos urbanos, en embalses y en lagunas naturales. En estos últimos, el estudio de procesos de eutrofización y de contaminación orgánica ha dado lugar al desarrollo de metodologías y herramientas específicas.

Algunos trabajos relevantes:

- Estudio de la Evolución Temporal y Espacial de la Calidad de las Aguas del Río Arga en la Comarca de Pamplona

FECHA: 2001
CLIENTE: IKAUR S.L.
TRABAJO REALIZADO: Diseño de la red de saneamiento de Pamplona con análisis de los efectos de los vertidos y alivios del sistema en el río Arga. Propuesta de alternativas de actuación incluyendo modificaciones en la morfología del cauce orientas a minimizar las afecciones (episodios de anoxia) sobre el ecosistema.

 

- Desarrollo de un estudio integral del sistema hidráulico Júcar-Albufera (Comunidad Valenciana)

FECHA: 2006
CLIENTE: Entidad Pública de Saneamiento de Aguas Residuales
de la Comunidad Valenciana (EPSAR)
TRABAJO REALIZADO: Estudio de los riesgos ambientales asociados a la detracción de agua para riego en la cuenca baja del río Júcar. Análisis de los procesos de eutrofización en el lago de la Albufera de Valencia por efecto del vertido de retornos de riego y aguas residuales.

 

- Estudio de modelización del impacto de los vertidos de la EDAR de Arazuri en el río Arga

FECHA: 2011
CLIENTE: Navarra de Infraestructuras Locales S.A. (NILSA)
TRABAJO REALIZADO: Análisis, mediante modelado numérico, de la calidad actual del agua y de las posibles estrategias de gestión ambiental en un río mediterráneo afectado por vertidos puntuales, explotación hidroeléctrica, azudes, etc. Aplicación de índices de calidad ambiental para la evaluación del riesgo de incumplimiento del objetivo de buen estado ecológico.

 

- Estudio de calidad de aguas del río Arakil. Tramo desde Álava a Etxarren. Análisis de estrategias de gestión ambiental

FECHA: 2012
CLIENTE: Navarra de Medio Ambiente Industrial, S.A. (NAMAINSA)
TRABAJO REALIZADO: Análisis, mediante modelado numérico, de la calidad actual del agua y de las posibles estrategias de gestión ambiental en un río mediterráneo afectado por vertidos puntuales, explotación hidroeléctrica, azudes, etc. Aplicación de índices de calidad para la evaluación del riesgo de incumplimiento del buen estado ecológico.

 

- Climate change adaptation report for the Nam-ngum river basin (Laos)

FECHA: 2012
CLIENTE: IDOM
TRABAJO REALIZADO: Análisis de escenarios de cambio climático en la cuenca del río Me-Kong y riesgos hidrológicos, ambientales y alimentarios asociados a los mismos en la cuenca del río Nam-ngum, afluente del Me-Kong.

Published in Rivers
For over10 years IH Cantabria has been conducting studies and research aimed at understanding the behavior of the Arga River and its major tributaries in the vicinity of Pamplona, more specifically looking at the water quaility.

In one of the fist studies carried out the focus was on the analysis of the impact of the discharges into the network by studying the lowering of the concentration of dissolved oxygen in the urban sections of the river. With this information, the regional government was able to establish the correct location and dimensions of various storm drains and thereby improve the sanitation of the city of Pamplona.

In the "Survey of modeling the impact of the discharges into the river Arga Arazuri" developed between 2010 and 2011, which extended the previous analysis d to the section between Pamplona and Puente La Reina, we analyzed not only the impact of those discharges but also the influx of the discharge from the hydroelectric plant located at the Arakil river.

In conducting these studies have used hydraulic calculation software (HEC- RAS) and
water quality simulation programs (QUAL2E and WASP) both for permanent and non permanent regimes. Their parameters have been calibrated and validated using data obtained from specific water quality campaigns carried out by the Government of Navarra.

The results of these studies have allowed us to develop different management strategies for the Arga basin, ranging from the performance on the quality of discharges, the proposed removal of some dams or providing critical flows from reservoirs. A unique aspect of this study has been the analysis of the impact of the mini hydro-electric stations on the river's water quality.

The project "Calculating Environmental Flow Regimes at different points in Navarra's  River Systems" was carried out as a joint activity by the Government of Navarra's Environmental Department, the private company EKOLUR S.L. and IH Cantabria.

The main goal of th project was to calculate the minimum environmental flows for over 100 points along the river systems in Navarra (Spain) making it the most detailed study to date carried out on the Ebro basin.  The project comprised the rivers in the Cantabrian and Mediterranean watersheds, which also allowed us to study the influence of the diverse environmental and hydrologic conditions on each watershed when estimating seasonal flows.

To carry out the study, a new technique was used which integrates the results obtained from hydrological and hydrobiological methods, based on the simulation of the potential usable habitat by combining hydraullic models and preference curves. With this information we were able to analyze the effects of the flow variations in specific segments and propose a seasonal variation regime of the minimum flows throughout the year. This methodology has been used and verified in other geographic and climatic areas throughout Spain.

 

The RECORAM project  (Optimization of monitoring networks to assess conservation of high mountain rivers. Ref: 132/2010) is a project funded by the Autonomous National Parks Agency of the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment, effective 2011-2013 and was undertaken at the National Park of Picos de Europa in Northern Spain.

The end result of the project will be the design of a monitoring network for the conservation status of river ecosystems using tested variables and field campaigns that allow control-impact statistics necessary to be able to quantify the effects of specific pressures. To achieve this fundamental objective has been a distributed hydrological model (SWAT) and there have been stretches of rivers classified according to their hydrological function and the physical characteristics of the habitat. Cameras have been installed and pressure and temperature sensors are used to monitor these variables continuously and point sampling has been conducted all of which will help evaluate the adequacy of the structural and functional ecosystem to monitor point and diffuse discharges in the river network of the Park.

Published in R&D projects

Benda L., Miller D. & Barquín J. 2011. Creating a catchment context for river restoration planning.
Hydrology and Earth Systems Science 15: 2995-3015.

Published in Journal Articles

Learning about the actual as well as the theoretical behavior of a river basin in terms of water flow, sediment and substances is of great importance. The watershed transform  depending on climate factors, soil properties (edaphology, usage, etc) and due to the structure of the network itself.  Identifying the dominating processes and mechanisms is one of the main goals of hydrology and amongst its practical applications we find the characterizationa nd provision of average and extreme flows  within a river segment.

HEre at IH, we utilize this knowledge to design improvements for a more adewuate water management.

Published in Hydraulic Engineering
To establish the dependence between the hydrological and erosive-sedimentary dynamics of a river segment it is very important to have the adequate knowledge of the hydrological regime and to correctly monitor the temporal evolution of fluvial morphodynamics. Similarly, the coupling of water quality monitoring systems to the afore-mentioned systems provides a very important data sets, ehich allows the study of the dependency of the biogeochemical patterns with the physical processes.

IH Cantabria has considerable experience in the use of different methods to monitor flow rates,  sediment dynamics and water quality,  either discountinously, through temporary registers or continuously. The continuous measurements are carried out using systems which may or may not have direct communication with the lab facilitites depending on the requirements and possibilities of installation.

IH Cantabria is currently working on various research projects with several agencies and private companies that are enabling the development of new facilities and monitoring systems. One of the most innovative techniques studies flows using image processing, which uses visual monitoring systems (cameras) with a  specific software to interpret the images obtained. 

Relevant projects

- Development of a prototype system streamflow gauge by means of video imagery images (SAFI)

DATE : 2007
CLIENT: Ministry of Industry, Employment and Technological Development of the Government of Cantabria. Sodercan. TEICAN, Environmental Engineering
TASKS : Installing a video - monitoring system in the lower segment of the river Saja, and obtaining the flow using image analysis.

 

- Samples for the exploitation of biological control network of rivers from the Hydrographic Confederation of the North in Cantabria

 DATE : 2006-2007
CLIENT: Ecohydros , University of Cantabria
TASKS: Sampling and taxonomic identification of macroinvertebrate communities in Cantabria Operative Network, to determine the ecological status of water bodies corresponding to the Hydrographic Confederation of Biscay.

 

- Optimization of the monitoring network to study the conservation state of rivers mountainous areas (RECORAM)

DATE : In development until 2012
CLIENT: National Parks autonomous body of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment
TASKS: Installing a monitoring network that includes video cameras and pressure sensors for flow,
ADCP land lasers to study fluvial morphodynamics , temperature sensors and monitoring of functional indicators (eg river metabolism) 

 

- Design of a spatial framework for an integrated watershed management (MARCE)

DATE : 2012
CLIENT: National Research Plan. Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness
TASKS: Track river habitat features using several monitoring methods with different scopes and precision, to establish key biophysical relationships in integrated watershed management.

Published in Rivers
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