Demosite Location
Demosite Location


Demosite Location

Information about lithology/geochemistry:

The “acequias de careo” of Sierra Nevada (Bérchules and Mecina rivers watersheds), Granada. Spain

Main Description

  • The watersheds of Bérchules, Mecina and Alhorí rivers are placed in Sierra Nevada (Biosphere Reserve and National Park), in southern Spain. An ancestral water and soil management system that enhace recharge is carried out, complining with the precepts of Ecohydrology.
  • Thanks to this system, water is better regulated, and the effects of both floods and droughts are lessened, the soil is preserved, ecological diversity is increased, sustainable agriculture and hydraulic heritage are maintained, etc.
  • ecological diversity is increased
  • Sierra Nevada (Biosphere Reserve and National Park).

Conserve Ecohydrological processes in natural ecosystem


Enhance ecohydrological processes in novel ecosystem


Apply complementary Ecohydrological processes in high impacted system


This table presents the different categories of ecosystem services that ecosystem can provide, divided in:

Provisioning Services are ecosystem services that describe the material or energy outputs from ecosystems. They include food, water and other resources.

Food: Ecosystems provide the conditions for growing food. Food comes principally from managed agro-ecosystems but marine and freshwater systems or forests also provide food for human consumption. Wild foods from forests are often underestimated.

Regulating Services are the services that ecosystems provide by acting as regulators eg. regulating the quality of air and soil or by providing flood and disease control.

Moderation of extreme events: Extreme weather events or natural hazards include floods, storms, tsunamis, avalanches and landslides. Ecosystems and living organisms create buffers against natural disasters, thereby preventing possible damage. For example, wetlands can soak up flood water whilst trees can stabilize slopes. Coral reefs and mangroves help protect coastlines from storm damage.

Ecosystem services "that are necessary for the production of all other ecosystem services". These include services such as nutrient recycling, primary production and soil formation.

Habitats for species: Habitats provide everything that an individual plant or animal needs to survive: food; water; and shelter. Each ecosystem provides different habitats that can be essential for a species’ lifecycle. Migratory species including birds, fish, mammals and insects all depend upon different ecosystems during their movements.

Cultural Services corresponds nonmaterial benefits people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, recreation, and aesthetic experiences.


Demosite Location
Life zone
Cool Temperate
Dry forest

PPT(mm/yr): 677.0

T(ºc): 13.0

Elevation of demosite: 2000.0 meters above sea level
Humidity: Semi-Arid
PETr (by year): 0.65

EH Principles

Quantification of the hydrological processes at catchment scale and mapping the impacts

Ecological engineering (integration, dual regulation and biotechnologies in catchment scale for enhancement of ecological potential)


The irrigation ditches generate pastures and maintain forest mass, supplies, agriculture and livestock

Ecohydrological Infrastructure

This water management system retains water in basins through the infiltration of water through the soil and aquifers, increasing the base flow of rivers in dry periods.

Hydrological Flow

The soil-vegetation system retains water and regulates the temperature, nutrients input and the river flow.


Major Issues

  • Contaminants of agricultural origin, Hyper-regulation of the water resource (micro-reservoirs)
Which: Loss of local population,

Social ecohydrological system

EH Objectives

Cultural Heritage

EH Methodology

  • Research and reclamation of hillside ditches, recovery of local knowledge, co-work with stakeholders, groundwater recharge improvement.

Catchment Ecohydrological sub-system


  • Maintain and publicize this management water system, 2000 yrs old, wich is a good example of an existing Climate Change adaptation/resilience tool.

  • Stakeholders

  • Municipalities

  • Irrigation Communities

  • Academic Institutions (Geological and Mining Institute of Spain-CSIC, Universities)

  • Autonomous Goverment of Andalusia

  • Sierra Nevada Nat. Park Administration

  • Guadalquivir River Basin Authority

  • CYTED Network

  • Catchment Sociological sub-system


    • Hydrometeorological and hydrogeological monitoring of river watersheds and hillside ditches, research Projects, publication of results, recovery and maintenance of ditches with volunteer activities, fostering dialogue between local stakeholders, management authorities and science

    Expected Outcomes

    • To recover and publicize ancestral water management techniques that are good examples of social, cultural and natural resilience

    Latest Results

    • Hydrological modelling, hydrogeochemical and isotopic research, satellite, and archaeological and sediment dating techniques have been applied to prove the hydrological efficiency, antiquity, and environmental success of this water management system. Through CYTED Network and training courses with AECID we are sharing the knowledge acquired (http://www.cyted.org/es/syca)


    Sergio Martos Rosillo

    • s.martos@igme.es
    • http://www.igme.es/
    • Spanish Geological Survey
    • http://www.igme.es/



      7, place de Fontenoy 75007 Paris - France

    Development: Copyright © 2015 CIH / All rights reserved. | Design: Copyright © 2012 Little NEKO / All rights reserved.