Hydroclimatological Impacts of Irrigation in Southeastern Turkey — A LCLUC Research Project

Shuttle photograph of Ataturk Dam

Principal Investigator: Dr. Guido Salvucci

Co-Principal Investigators: Dr. Curtis Woodcock, Dr. Mark Friedl, Dr. Bruce Anderson

Graduate Students: Mutlu Ozdogan

Sponsors: NASA LCLUC Program: Grant NAG5-11338

Duration: September 2001 – ongoing

The GAP Project Homepage

Turkish State Water Works (DSI) Homepage

Project Summary

Turkey is currently engaged in a large integrated water resources development project in its semi-arid southeastern region. Commonly referred to by its Turkish acronym GAP, the Southeastern Anatolia Project involves 22 dams in the upper Euphrates-Tigris Basin, and aims to provide irrigation for 1.7 million hectares of land by 2015. As in other semi-arid and arid parts of the world, water is a valuable resource in the GAP region. Despite large quantities of water currently available from the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, it is becoming increasingly important to improve management of these resources available for agriculture as further irrigation developments in the upper tri-state Euphrates-Tigris Basin progress. Up-to-date and objective information on the spatial distribution of irrigated crops as well as changes in their areal extent over time can help achieve the goal of efficient water resource management.

The purpose of this research is to provide remote sensing-based estimates on summer irrigated land area and volume of irrigation water use between 1993 and 2002 in the Sanliurfa-Harran District, where cotton is the primary summer irrigated crop. These estimates form an objective and independent data source on changes in annual water consumption in the district. As part of this study, these estimates form the quantitative basis for exploring the hydroclimatological effects of increasing amounts of irrigation in the region. We suggest that the remote sensing methodology presented here could be useful in future operational remote sensing based monitoring of irrigation over the entire GAP region on various spatial and temporal scales as the area under irrigation is rapidly expanding. It is our intent here to demonstrate the effectiveness of this technology in current and future support of the GAP irrigation projects.

Project Data:

This Area will soon have both raw and processed data from fieldwork and Landsat TM images, thumb-nail images from Landsat, results of our ongoing investigations and summaries of research papers.

MODIS data for 2002 growing season

Changes in irrigated area (1993-2002)


Ozdogan, M. and Salvucci, G.D., 2003, Irrigation induced changes in evapotranspiration in SE Turkey: Test and application of Bouchet’s complementary relationship, Water Resources Research, (in press).

Ozdogan, M., Woodcock, C.E., Salvucci, G.D., and Demir, H., 2003, Monitoring Changes in summer irrigated crop area in Southeastern Turkey using remote sensing: Implications for agricultural water use and local climate, Agricultural Water Management, (in review).