University of Oulu

Torabi Haghighi, A., Akbari, M., Noori, R., Danandeh Mehr, A., Gohari, A., Sönmez, M. E., Abou Zaki, N., Yilmaz, N., & Kløve, B. (2023). The impact of Turkey’s water resources development on the flow regime of the Tigris River in Iraq. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, 48, 101454.

The impact of Turkey’s water resources development on the flow regime of the Tigris River in Iraq

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Author: Torabi Haghighi, Ali1; Akbari, Mahdi1; Noori, Roohollah2,3;
Organizations: 1Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu, Finland
2Graduate Faculty of Environment, University of Tehran, Tehran 1417853111, Iran
3Faculty of Governance, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
4Department of Civil Engineering, Antalya Bilim University, Antalya, Turkey
5MEU Research Unit, Middle East University, Amman, Jordan
6Department of Water Science and Engineering, College of Agriculture, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan 841568311, Iran
7Department of Geography, University of Gaziantep, Turkey
8Department of Freshwater Resources and Management, Faculty of Aquatic Sciences, Istanbul University, 34134, Fatih, Istanbul, Türkiye
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 4.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-10-10


Study region: Once, the Tigris River (with its twin, the Euphrates) was the remarkable river in the west of Asia, making Mesopotamia a cradle of civilization thousands of years ago. Upstream anthropogenic activity has choked the Tigris River, the connecting lifeline across Iraq, and, due to droughts and desertification, caused the country to be plagued by poverty.

Study focus: Here, we give a perspective on flow regime alteration in the main corridor of the Tigris River at five crucial points (Cizre, Mosul, Baiji, Baghdad, and Kut) before and after the planned water resources development in Turkey. Turkey’s Tigris River regulation goal is to generate about 7247 GWh of energy and irrigate over 640,000 ha of farmlands.

New hydrological insights for the region: We reconstructed the natural flow along the Tigris River. In addition, to evaluate hydrological droughts, we proposed a modified streamflow drought index (MSDI) and compared it with the original streamflow drought index (SDI). The results show that the worst hydrological conditions could be found below the Samarra barrage in Iraq before the Tigris River regulation in Turkey. This negative hydrological condition will be extended to the whole corridor of the Tigris River in Iraq after the implementation of Turkey’s goal. As a result, for example, Cizre and Mosul will experience extreme conditions in 37.5–87.5% of the years; this means a considerable reduction in the Mosul reservoire’s inflow (135–326 m³/sec). Consequently, some parts of Mosul’s hydropower and reservoir capacity will be useless, and hydrological drought upstream of the Samarra barrage will be dominated.

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Series: Journal of hydrology. Regional studies
ISSN: 2214-5818
ISSN-E: 2214-5818
ISSN-L: 2214-5818
Volume: 48
Article number: 101454
DOI: 10.1016/j.ejrh.2023.101454
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1172 Environmental sciences
218 Environmental engineering
Copyright information: © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (