Source of the Segura River
|Origin||Fuente Segura, Sierra de Segura, Jaén|
|Mouth||Guardamar del Segura, Alicante|
|Source elevation||1,413 m|
|Mouth elevation||0 m|
|Avg. discharge||Cieza: 26.3 m³/s|
|Basin area||19,525 km²|
The river begins at Santiago Pontones (province of Jaén), passes Calasparra, Cieza, Murcia, Beniaján, Orihuela, Rojales and ends in the Mediterranean Sea near Guardamar del Segura in the province of Alicante. Some of its tributaries are the Mundo (which starts near Riópar), the Alhárabe (which starts in Moratalla), the Mula and the Guadalentín.
The alluvial plain is called the Vega del Segura and is a very productive agricultural region growing a wide variety of fruit, vegetables and flowers. The Vegas are divided into three areas: Alta, Media and Baja (upper, medium, and lower).
By the 1990s, the Segura had become one of the most polluted rivers in Europe, due to the canning industry and urban and agricultural residues originating in the densely populated area in the medium and lower areas of the basin. This fact combined with low or extreme low flows in the same areas –the agricultural use of water and summer drought could reduce the mean discharge to just around 2 to 3 m³/s in Murcia city– made more difficult to dilute pollutants.
Public outcry peaked in 2001, with a demonstration gathering 40,000 people. A comprehensive action plan followed, and during a 10 years interval, the Region of Murcia built 46 big and 51 small water purification plants, investing some 640 million euros, mostly from European funds.
Results followed and the situation greatly improved with the river coming back to life. By 2013, otters and eels –both species particularly sensitive to water pollutants– had repopulated large tracts of the river where they had been absent for decades.
|Guardamar del Segura||1 m³/s|
The Segura is usually in a state of semi-permanent drought, however, now and then, it does occasionally flood as the consequence of the torrential rains (cold drop), which typically take place once every 6–9 years approximately, always in Autumn and Spring.
In the twentieth century significant flooding occurred in 1946, 1948, 1973, 1982, 1987 and 1989. Since 1990 the lower reaches of the river have been canalized, removing meanders and hence improving the evacuation of flood waters. The new canal was put to the test in September 1997 and October 2000 when heavy rainfall resulted in significant runoff.
Segura floods in Murcia and Orihuela
|October, 1651||1.700 m³/s|
|October, 1834||1.000 m³/s|
|15 October 1879 (Santa Teresa flood)||1.890 m³/s||2.000 m³/s|
|April, 1946||1.187 m³/s||1.138 m³/s|
|October, 1948||934 m³/s||1.172 m³/s|
|November, 1987||1.000 m³/s|
- List of rivers of Spain
- Flash flood
- Flood protection
- Irrigation district
- Saltwater intrusion
- La Vicaria Arch Bridge
- Water pollution
- Water stress
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Segura.|