The Segura river is the most important in the Murcia province, due to its large basin and wealth of tributaries and ravines. Also, it traverses a significant group of municipalities, being used especially for agriculture, irrigation, and fishing, among other activities.
Its name comes from the Latin Thader
, being thus identified by the Romans. Its meaning is “palm” and the name stems from the trees and vegetation along it. Later, the Arabs gave it the name of Wadi al-Abyad
to identify it as a “white river” given its crystalline colour.
It has almost 18,815 square kilometres of basin in total (11,104 in the province of Murcia) and is 325 kilometres in length. It originates in Pontones, province of Jaen (Andalusia), and on its way crosses several Spanish provinces such as Albacete, Murcia, and Alicante, where it flows into the Mediterranean Sea through Guardamar del Segura.
The Segura river has an outstanding number of tributary rivers, including the Quipar river, the Guadalentin river, the Argos river, and the Mula river. Depending on the season, the Segura river presents little water in some parts of its route, while in other periods of the year it presents with great floods.
This is its cyclical behavior, which is why the development of some populations has been conditioned for these characteristics, and why these populations are dedicated to creating the best conditions for the use of the river. In the province of Murcia, the Segura river passes through a large number of towns and districts, which makes possible its dedication to agricultural activities.
The course of the Segura river has been classified as high, medium, and low depending on its position with respect to sea level. Its high course begins in Santiago Pontones, 1,413 meters above sea level. There is where the Segura river begins, in a cave, and its tributaries in the upper course are characterized by their might.
The middle course of the Segura river is present when it reaches Calasparra and Cieza, with a height above sea level of 200 meters. The Segura river begins its low course in the province of Alicante and behaves like this until it reaches the Guardamar del Segura area, site of its mouth of the Mediterranean Sea.
Along the Segura river, a network of reservoirs and traditional hydraulic works has been built to channel and dam its waters, making it reach the different populations and, thus, resulting in greater use of its waters and the control of floods.
The Segura river has been a determining factor in the development of economic and organizational activity in the province of Murcia.