International recognition for the Enciso Dam

The Enciso dam, in which TYPSA has provided construction engineering support services for the Ebro River Basin Authority, has been awarded the International Milestone RCC Projects award.

This award is jointly awarded by the Spanish National Committee on Large Dams (SPANCOLD) and the Chinese National Committee on Large Dams (CHINCOLD), in order to recognise the important technical achievements achieved in the construction of Roller Compacted Concrete dams (RCC), and identify the most important projects that, due to their innovative character, either in their design or construction system, are significant and can be used as a reference for future projects.

More than 30 countries have competed for this award since 2007, and there are already 60 awarded projects from 21 different countries, such as Austria, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Switzerland, South Africa, Turkey, and the United States.

Our colleague Pedro Rivas travelled to the 9th International Symposium of RCC dams and CMD (Cemented Material Dams) that took place from 4th to 8th December in Guangzhou, China, to collect the award on behalf of the colleagues who, over the years, participated in the teams on the project.

The award recognizes the work of all those involved: Contractor (UTE Dragados – FCC), administration (Ebro River Basin Authority), engineering support services (TYPSA) and FOSCE Consulting Engineers (RCC specialists).

The Enciso dam is located in a gorge on the Cidacos River, 700 m upstream from the municipality of Enciso, in the Autonomous Community of La Rioja (Spain), creating a reservoir extending across the municipalities of Enciso and Yanguas in Soria (Autonomous Community of Castilla y León), with a surface area at its normal maximum level (N.M.N.) of 151.6 ha. Its crest is located at a height of 874.50 m, and has a length of 375.60 m. The minimum level of the foundation at the upstream toe is 771.38 m resulting in a maximum height above the foundation of 103.12 m. The maximum width of the dam at its base is 81.20 m, and the total volume of concrete in the dam structure is approximately 800,000 m3.

Precisely at this time, the last phase of the Dam Commissioning Plan has been completed, thus concluding work that TYPSA began in 1999 and will culminate in 2024, when the dam enters the regular operational phase under management of the River Basin Authority. It´s interesting to note that the author of the detailed design was our colleague Rafael López Manzano, during his time as an engineer at FCC, so it can be said that we have been involved in all the phases of the dam´s creation, from conception to commissioning.

This achievement has been acknowledged by this international prize, which specifically recognises the formula of the mixture used in construction (the dosage and characteristics of the concrete employed). An innovative RCC mix, known as VRCC (“vibro” RCC), has been developed, providing significant advantages to the technology of concrete dam construction.

The concept of an immersion vibrated roller compacted concrete originated in 2009, during the preliminary tests conducted before the construction of the De Hoop dam in South Africa. This experience was followed by a similar one in South Africa, the Spring Grove dam, in which the VRCC mixture could be optimised to reduce the conglomerate content. The Enciso dam is the first dam outside South Africa to have fully used VRCC and, at the time of its completion, it is the highest in the world.

Pedro J. Rivas
Project Manager

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