LAS DEHESAS, EL ZUJAR, AND MADRIGALEJO BRANCH CANALS
The Dehesas Canal is the backbone of the large hydraulic complex for regulation, water transfer, supply and irrigation.
By Decree of October 23, 1987, the economic and social transformation of the Central Zone of Extremadura was declared to be of general interest. The idea began to take shape in 1991. In that year, the preliminary works project was drawn up to install the piping network in the plots.
In 1995 it was definitively configured: Thirteen sectors and 13,800 hectares spread over ten municipalities: Acedera, Casas de Don Pedro, Don Benito, Don Benito, Navalvillar de Pela, Puebla de Alcocer, Orellana la Vieja, Orellana de la Sierra and Villanueva de la Serena in the province of Badajoz, and Logrosán and Madrigalejo, in the province of Cáceres.
In the first phase, an infrastructure of 103 kilometers of canal was built to irrigate some 11,000 hectares in the central subzone of eastern Extremadura.
In successive extensions, more than 32,000 hectares on the right bank of the Guadiana River were converted into irrigated land. In the winter it is used as a transfer between the various tributary basins of the Guadiana through which it passes along its course, regulating the reserves of important medium-sized reservoirs and an integral use of water resources.
The channel starts at the Puerto Peña or García Sola reservoir, one of the most beautiful in Spain, a dam that forms a labyrinth of mountains and lakes hard to imagine.
Unlike the Orellana Canal where the section is v-shaped, the Dehesas Canal has a half-circumference of just over five meters from side to side of the bank. Flows are regulated by gates and spillways. It crosses roads with bridges and there are numerous crossings over the canal that facilitate access on both sides.
Other short-distance pipelines connect it with the Gargáligas reservoir, with the Orellana Canal itself, with the canals of the Ruecas River…
The Comunidad de Regantes del Canal de las Dehesas was established in 2008, in the interest of all the users of the Canal de las Dehesas.
The canal passes through Madrigalejo, where it forks into two branches: the Pela branch and the Madrigalejo branch. The Madrigalejo branch is 9.1 km long and has a flow rate of 6.4 m3/s1. It irrigates up to 2500 hectares between the municipal area and lands in Zorita and Alcollarín.
The Madrigalejo branch also contributes to the agricultural and economic development of the region by facilitating the irrigation of crops such as rice, corn, tomatoes and fruit trees. In addition, the branch creates habitat for aquatic fauna and steppe birds.
The dehesas canal crosses areas of great ecological and scenic value, where you can see oak and cork oak pastures, irrigated crops, wetlands and migratory birds such as cranes. This infrastructure is also part of the Vegas del Guadiana Greenway Nature Trail, which follows the route of an old railroad that never came into operation. This path allows you to cycle or walk through the different villages and places along the canal, such as the Madrigalejo station.