In the mid-19th century, the European capital city of Madrid was in danger of falling behind the modern times. The region lacked an industrial fabric, agriculture was sparse and demographic growth was non-existent... And one of the main reasons was a dearth of water. It was at this point that Madrid undertook one of the most impressive feats in civil engineering of its time.
The creation of the Canal de Isabel II (Isabella II's Canal), one of the oldest and largest public companies in Madrid, played an essential role in modernising Madrid and the surrounding region, and in improving its inhabitants' quality of life. Since then, the Canal de Isabel II has been entrusted with a particularly important mission, managing one of mankind's most prized resources: water.
Twenty years ago, on the cusp of the new century and on the 150th anniversary of the first time water was brought to Madrid, the Canal decided to strengthen its commitment to society by creating the Canal Foundation. This is a not-for-profit organisation intended to help improve the lives of people and the health of our environment, bringing knowledge to the greatest number of citizens possible.
The Canal Foundation has a two-fold mission: to create knowledge opportunities and to encourage caring for water. Two decades after its creation, the Foundation has helped give shape to this commitment through hundreds of activities on innovation, the environment, and culture, with the participation of nearly seven million people.
Throughout its history, through research and environmental educational programmes, it has helped the Canal de Isabel II to promote a more efficient and sustainable use of water with the population. Moreover, through cultural education, it has brought art and humanities nearer to citizens, under the conviction that culture and critical thought are tools to improve people and society.
In its contribution to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Foundation places special focus on quality education (SDG 4) for efficient water use (SDG 6) and development of healthy lifestyles to combat climate change (SDG 13), as well as on creating sustainable communities, protecting and fomenting the world's natural and cultural heritage through its efforts (SDG 11). Thanks to the extraordinary facilitating and mobilising power of culture, through its educational efforts, the Foundation promotes social cohesion against inequality (SDG 10) and the socioeconomic development of its environment.
When drinking water was brought to Madrid, it was the beginning of an infrastructure network of enormous historical, technical, and patrimonial wealth. As part of Canal de Isabel II's social commitment, sections of this industrial heritage are now home to important cultural projects, including facilities and spaces for Fundación Canal's public.
The Foundation's headquarters, its two exhibition halls (Mateo Inurria Hall and Castellana Hall), auditorium, and garden for summer activities, are located near the IV Depósito Park, built over the cover of the Canal's fourth water tank, still currently in use. Occupying part of the underground space once used to store water, the Castellana Hall has maintained the appearance of the former reservoir with its 144 brick arches that tower more than 7.5 metres high over a 1,500-metre surface area.
Beyond their unique personality, the Foundation's facilities have modern technical equipment to comfortably conduct both public activities and host private events when scheduling allows.
The Canal Foundation is a not-for-profit entity that believes in transparency as the best way to conduct its activity and interact with its environment and beneficiaries. With a will to disclose how it manages its activities, the Transparency Portal offers clear and accessible information on the organisation and resources: how they are used, how things are done, and the results.
En la Fundación Canal nos encargamos de todo, para que tú solo te preocupes de disfrutar. En familia, solo, en pareja o en grupo; a pie, en bus, en metro o en bici; os damos la bienvenida.