Case study:Robledo de Chavela dam removal
To discuss or comment on this case study, please use the discussion page.
- 1 Project overview
- 2 Image gallery
- 3 Catchment and subcatchment
- 4 Site
- 5 Project background
- 6 Reasons for river restoration
- 7 Measures
- 8 Monitoring
- 9 Additional documents and videos
- 10 Additional links and references
- 11 Supplementary Information
|Project web site|
|Themes||Social benefits, Water quality, Urban|
|Main contact forename||Rincón Sanz|
|Main contact surname||Gonzalo|
|Main contact user ID|
|Contact organisation web site|
|Parent multi-site project|
| This is a parent project
encompassing the following
The removal of the Robledo dam was a milestone as to be the highest dam demolished in Spain, and possibly, in Europe.
The work carried out, besides the removal of the dam wall, consisted of the extraction and relocation of sediments, the capture and transfer of 4500 specimens of native fish, delimitation of the channel with riprap, slope profiling and reforestation of the riverbank.
The dam was demolished on September 29, 2014, by the use of 1.2 tons of explosives. More than 9,000 m3 of concrete from the wall of the dam were demolished.
Monitoring surveys and results
Due to the problems of sediment contamination stored upstream of the dam, a study was carried out prior to the removal in order to make a diagnosis of the sediments and their treatment. A plan is implemented to remove some of these sediments and place them in higher areas where they were confined and stabilized by planting native vegetation. Two years after the removal of the dam, a monitoring plan was conducted to measure:
- Physicochemical parameters of water as temperature, dissolved oxygen,
conductivity and pH.
- Habitat availability.
- Quality of the riparian forest.
- Flora (macrophytes) and fauna (macroinvertebrates and fish) present in the river, as well as exotic species.
The fish community in the Cofio River near the Robledo dam is: Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), Iberian barbel (Luciobarbus bocagei), chub (Squalius pyrenaicus), calandino (Squalius alburnoides) and Iberian gudgeon (Gobio lozanoi), being Squalius alburnoides the dominant specie. All are native species of the Tajo River Basin except from the rainbow trout that is exotic and comes from sport fishing.
Sampling points were determined both upstream and downstream from where the dam was located. The main results of this monitoring show clear signs of recovery in the river reach affected by the presence of the dam, with some differences between the areas that were located upstream and downstream of the dam.
The removal of the Robledo dam stands out as an example of participatory management, in which the importance of administrative coordination between different social agents is evidenced.
The Robledo dam removal will promote the recovery of altered river processes as a consequence of the construction, exploitation and abandonment of the dam. It will therefore contribute to the improvement of the ecological status of the Cofio River and the native fish populations in this river.
A monitoring program was carried out after the dam removal (in August 2016) showing environmental improvements in the river after the removal. The importance of performing this monitoring before and after the dam removal is emphasized in order to quantify the effects that this type of actions have on the river.
Catchment and subcatchment
Cost for project phases
Supplementary funding information
There is a total budget of €1.5 million which includes the elimination of the dam and the renaturalization of the environment.
Reasons for river restoration
Hydromorphological quality elements
Biological quality elements
Physico-chemical quality elements
Additional documents and videos
Amor Cortés, J. (2016). Emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero en la demolición de la presa de Robledo de Chavela y la restauración ambiental de los terrenos afectados. Final Master Degree dissertation.
Confederación Hidrográfica del Tajo (2009). Diagnóstico y Propuesta de Tratamiento de los Sedimentos del Embalse de Robledo de Chavela en el río Cofio (Madrid). Estrategia Nacional de Restauración de Ríos.
Confederación Hidrográfica del Tajo (2014). Derribada la presa de Robledo de Chavela (Madrid), sobre el río Cofio, la más alta desmantelada en España con casi 23 metros de altura. Press release from 29/09/2014
Confederación Hidrográfica del Tajo (2016). Seguimiento del estado ecológico del Río Cofio tras la demolición de la presa de Robledo de Chavela.
Headwaters Economics (2016). Dam removal: case studies on the Fiscal, Economic, Social and Environmental benefits of dam removal.
Industrial Economics Inc. (2015). Economic & Community Benefits from Stream Barrier Removal Projects in Massachusetts (MA). Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, Division of Ecological Restoration.
Ollero Ojeda, A. (2015). Guía metodológica sobre buenas prácticas en restauración fluvial. Manual para gestores.