High in the mountains above the village of Tous, just behind the town of Alzira in the province of Valencia, is one of the most impressive water reservoirs in Spain. The Tous Reservoir is an awesome spectacle of water that when full has a maximum capacity of 340.4 hm³. It is a grand recreational area for picnics as well as fishing for pike and carp.

* Report by Arts Historian and Educator , Karla Darocas, Hons. B.A. (
* Copyright Karla Darocas 2018* (no part of this text or photos may be replicated)

The dam that controls the reservoir produces hydroelectricity and irrigation to the surrounding areas.

However beautiful this area is today, the Tous Reservoir was the source for one most terrifying natural disasters in the history of Spain!

The Story Goes...

It was shortly after 19:00 on the afternoon of October 20, 1982, when after a night of torrential rains caused by a seasonal Gota Fria dumping over 1,000 liters per square meter of water into the reservoir, it started to rise up and over the Dam.

Unfortunately, in 1982, the Tous Dam's construction was not designed to hold back this size of deluge of water and things started to go terribly wrong. The storm had cut the electricity making it impossible to open the Dam's floodgates and of course the emergency generator was in a room that had already flooded.

The radio stopped all programming and announcers were begging the people in the region to get out and away. Then emergency services began the tremendous task of evacuating over 100,000 citizens.

Then it happened... 15,000 m³ of water cascaded over the Tous Dam and into the river Júcar below. Shortly after, the entire Dam erupted devastating the regions of Ribera Alta and Ribera Baja.
Tous Dam rupture 1982
Directly in the path of the deluge of water, the villages of  Sumacàrcer, Gavarda and Beneixida were hit like a fierce slap from hell as water quickly rose to nine meters. A little farther down, the towns of  Carcaixent and Alzira witnessed the horror as the flood waters reached five meters.

The Spanish government declared it a "catastrophic zone" after the flood left forty dead and over 300 million euros in damages to agriculture, housing and road networks. The King of Spain came to Alzira to witness the disaster and reach out to the citizens.

To view 151 archived photos of the disaster = Click Here

Alzira emergency service

Map - King Juan Carlos in Alzira

Gota Fria (Cold Dip) is an explosive cyclogenesis, which is a rapid drop in pressure at the centre of a storm system, causing it to become greatly intensified.
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