The Órbigo River Project has been implemented by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment through the Duero River Basin Authority, in compliance with the Floods Directive and the Water Framework Directive and their respective goals of reducing the negative effects of floods and improving the ecological status of water bodies.
The idea behind the project was that by restoring river connectivity with the floodplains, the hydraulic capacity of the river in the event of flooding would be vastly increased, since it would be able to absorb more water in a controlled manner. In turn, through restoration of this connectivity, various natural processes would be re-established that would lead to ecological improvements.
In summary, the project consisted of removing all of the existing defensive structures along 23 kilometres of riverbed, or setting them back beyond the floodplain, depending on whether land use in the floodplain was compatible or not with flooding. In the case of setting the structures back, the location of the new defensive structures was selected on the basis of hydrologic and hydraulic studies in such a way so as to exploit the maximum hydraulic capacity of the floodplain to abate floods, respecting and thereby increasing the protection of areas occupied by populations.