The Guadarranque Reservoir

The Guadarranque reservoir (embalse) belongs to the Cuenca Mediterránea Andaluza and is located in the municipalities of Los Barrios, San Roque and Castellar, about 19 km from the Algeciras Bay.

River: Guadarranque.

Dam type: loose materials (Embankment Dam)

Construction year: 1966

Its basin covers an area of 143 km2, has an average annual rainfall of 1.100 mm and an average annual contribution of 78 Hm3.

The dam is straight plant with a coronation lenght of 235 m.

The Guadarranque reservoir has a volume of 87 hm3, a surface of 435 hectares and a river length of 11 km.

Purpose

* Supply the Campo de Gibraltar population

* Supply the industry established around the Algeciras Bay.

* Irrigation (1.000 hectares approx. in the areas of Guadarranque, Palmones and Hozgarganta).

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There are superb views of the reservoir from the narrow winding road that leads up to the old town of Castellar, but there are very few, if any, safe places to stop to admire it- especially at the weekends. It is better to drive right up to the town and view it at leisure from the safety of the old castle walls.

8/5/06-View of the reservoir and Guadarranque river valley from Castellar; water level low

8/5/06-View from the top of the cobbled pathway across a flowery meadow

The water levels of the reservoir are of course a reflection of the amount of rainfall received over the traditionally rainy months. Rainfall during the winters of 2005/6 and 2006/7 were low, consequently so was the depth and breadth of the reservoir.

17/1/07-CASTELLAR-Low rainfall so far this winter, reservoir water levels remain low. View from the cobbled pathway to the old well

In contrast, the winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11 saw record levels of rainfall across the whole region and all of the reservoirs full to capacity and even flooded.

7/2/11-Very high rainfall this winter has resulted in exceptionally high levels of water in the reservoir. With a background of rocky hills the scene is beautiful

It is possible to walk or drive closer to the reservoir along part of what is the far shore in the photographs. The roadway is accessed from the bottom of the hill that leads up to the Castle: if walking, park in the area in front of the Venta de Jarandilla. Walking or driving, follow the road to the left, crossing the small bridge over the Río Gadarranque. Continue on for about 250m, then take the right hand fork where the road divides; there is a no-entry sign here, but you may disregard it as part of the road is public and the sign refers to an area close to the dam about 2kms further on. Continue on the road for around 1.5kms and you will reach a parking area on the right;  there is a stone outcrop here with stone steps that lead up to an observation platform overlooking the reservoir and across to the castle.

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