The Catalan Water Agency implements a system at the Darnius Boadella dam that facilitates its operation and automatic control


  • For the first time, the Agency can perform this type of automatic control on a dam valve using a mobile application.
  • The work of technicians is facilitated and the need to physically access the dam for its operation is avoided.
Darnius Boadella dam's valve

The Catalan Water Agency (ACA) currently manages this dam of the Darnius Boadella reservoir, inaugurated in 1969 with the aim of controlling the floods of the Muga River and producing hydroelectric energy. After being used by the power plant, the water is returned to the river to supply an irrigation area of about 4,200 hectares and towns in the region such as Figueres, Cadaqués, Roses or Empuriabrava.

Water does not flow through the hydroelectric power plant when it is stopped due to a breakdown or planned downtime. In these cases, it is necessary to open the mid-level outlet valve to maintain the minimum flow that guarantees the ecological flow of the river and the supply to the services downstream. This valve opening maneuver can cause lack of supply problems if it takes more than three hours to complete.

In the framework of a series of dam drainage improvements undertaken by ACA in 2020, ADASA has developed and commissioned an automatic regulation system for the Howell-Bunger type mid-level outlet valve. In case of failure or power plant downtime, the automatic control system generates a warning (SMS) for the staff operating the dam. The status of the valve and the power plant may be assessed in real-time thanks to a mobile application that enables valve opening/closing and setting flow rate command signals.

The control system allows the valve to be monitored and operated remotely, either from the dam's offices or with a smartphone. In addition to manual operation, the system also allows to operate the valve configuring fixed flow rates and programmed according to defined time slots.

As a result, the physical presence of ACA technicians in the outlet chamber of the dam is avoided, as well as the need to be available 24 hours a day and holidays to operate the valve in case of failure or hydroelectric power plant downtime.

The Catalan Water Agency (ACA) is the Catalan government’s public agency responsible for planning and managing water, compliant with the basic principles of the European Union's Water Framework Directive. Created in 2000, ACA works to advance its plan to guarantee present and future supply and availability of quality water — ground and surface — at source. ACA’s action plan also promotes the treatment of wastewater through more than 500 treatment plants in service, protecting and conserving water bodies and their associated ecosystems.