Water Resources

The water table has been very badly treated, most of the wetlands having dried up, like the lakes in the Moorland, since the consolidation of many small-holdings and artificial irrigation changed the face of the district.

In 1948 Luis Pardo published a list of the lakes of Spain, which included descriptions of 125 lakes in León of different types and sizes, while today there are only about 50. In 1994 a list of wetlands was produced jointly by the Regional and Provincial governments in order to protect them. Although they are small, and their conservation state is not perfect, they are worth seeing. 

Baña Lake


Lakes and pools of glacial origin include Las Verdes pools, and Grande pool at Cabrillanes, Lakes Ausente and Isoba at Puebla de Lillo, the Hoyos de Vargas pools at Boca de Huérgano, the lake at Babia, the pool and lake at La Baña, the pool and lake at Truchillas, the pool at Valdeprado (at Miro de Valdeprado, at 1,790 metres), the Gistredo pool in the Sierra de Gistredo between the Rivers Urdiales and Primout, and the Malicioso pool on the northern slopes of the Vizcodillo and Peña Negra at Truchillas. Grassland pools include La Laguna (Quintana y Congosto), the pool at Chozas de Arriba, the Antimio de Arriba pool, the Sentil pool at Valdepolo, the Som pool at Méizara, the Cal pool two kilometres southeast of Fontecha, Antimio pool at Onzonilla, Llagán pool at Joarilla de las Matas, La Barrera pool at Villacalabuey, the Grande pool at Bercianos del Real Camino, the Grajalejo de las Matas pool, the Grande pool at Valverde-Enríquez and the pool at Villadangos del Páramo.



Artificial Lakes

Luna Reservoir

 Some of these are used for water sports, fishing and swimming, but great care should be taken because of the organic detritus on the bottom and other dangers. Several rivers have their flow regulated or intercepted by dams and reservoirs, which ensures a year-long ecological flow-rate, but variations in the flow-rate can be dangerous for bathers and anglers, especially in the shadow of a dam. The main reservoirs are at Riaño, on the Rivers Esla and Yuso (the dam is between Las Salas and Remolina); Vegamián, on the River Porma, with some water piped over from the Curueño; Bárcena, on the River Sil (with the dam near Cubillos del Sil); Luna, on the River of the same name (dam at Selga de Ordás); Villameca, on the River Tuerto (dam at Villameca); Las Rozas, on the Sil (dam between Villarino and Villablino); and many smaller ones (Villagatón, Antoñán, Matavilla, Ondinas, Peñadrada, Montearenas, Fuente del Azufre, Campañana and Casares), with many small weirs under construction on the Cares and Cabrera rivers, among others.



The mountainous nature of the province of León means that rivers flowing into several basins rise there: the Northern, Miño and Douro basins (Esla and Carrión systems).

The Miño basin is home to the River Sil, which rises near the Somiedo pass and takes on the waters of the Boeza and Tremor at Ponferrada. Its other tributaries include the Cúa, rising at Candín; the Burbia (rising at Valle de Finolledo); the Valcárcel, rising at Vega de Valcárcel; the Selmo, rising at Portela de Aguiar; the Cabrera, which comes down from the Cabrera mountains and joins the Sil at Puente de Domingo Flórez; the Noceda and other lesser streams.

The Esla belongs to the Douro basin and rises at the Tarna pass from snowfields and the springs of Valdosón and Molino del Moro), and collects the waters of the Yuso (which rises at San Glorio) at the Riaño reservoir. Its tributaries include the Porma, rising at the San Isidro pass and taking on the waters of the Curueño at Santa Colomba de Curueño. The Porma goes on to join the Esla at Villaturiel. The Torío rises at the Piedrafita de la Mediana pass and joins the Bernesga, which rises at Pajares pass, in León and empties into the Esla at Villaturiel. The Esla is joined by the Órbigo, which in turn takes on the waters of the Luna and the Omañas at Villaviciosa de la Ribera, and by the Tuerto, Turienza, Duerna, Jamuz and Eria. The Esla is also joined by the Cea, which rises at the Pando pass and is joined at Almanza by the Reales, which rises at Espiguete.

Outside the province, the Esla is joined by the Leonese rivers Valderaduey and Eria, which rises at Peña Negra, in La Cabrera. The Douro basin is also home to a number of small streams in the valleys of Besande and Valverde de la Sierra, which drain into the River Carrión in the province of Palencia.

The Sella and Cares are in the Cantabrian, or Northern, basin.

Ayuntamiento de León, Av. Ordoño II nº 10, 24001, León         Tlfno centralita: 987 895 500       Atencion ciudadana: 010
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