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Water Shortage And Abandoned Dams Of Ankara

Congress: 2015
Author(s): SAHNAZ TIGREK, Hasan Akyar
Middle East technical University1, General Director of State Hydraulic Works2

Keyword(s): Sub-theme 1: Water supply and demand,

Sahnaz Tigrek Mıddle East Technical University, Civil Engineering Department 06800 Ankara Turkey, Tel: 903122105451

Hasan Akyar General Director of State Hydraulic Works Ankara Turkey,


Turkey like many others country being in the zone of semi-arid climate zone put high priority on the development of economically feasible water resources for the purpose of supplying domestic and irrigation water and producing hydropower. Although Turkey is counted to be a water rich country while comparing neighboring Middle East Countries, the capital city Ankara hosting five million people faces severe water shortage from time to time. Ankara is the second largest metropolitan area of Turkey, since 1923 has continuously enlarged in dimension and population. It is located in drought prone central Anatolia. Droughts are a common hazard in Turkey, severe droughts have been observed in the country every four or five years (Yildiz, 2007). In Ankara, statistics indicate a drought is to be expected once every four years (Ceylan, 2002), too. Persistent dry conditions caused sudden cuts in public water supply from time to time and last experienced in the summer of 2007. Water was given every other day and some municipalities were without water for up to ten days. An emergency plan was implemented over the course of one year and in August of 2008 water from the Kizilirmak River east of Ankara was piped 146 km to serve the growing water demand. Ankara is among the most developed cities in Turkey, and the water crisis created a public uproar, and though current supply is sufficient to meet demand, serious doubts persist regarding the quality of Kizilirmak water for drinking. Further the system required extensive energy due to pumping from lower elevation. Following 2008, the rainy period started and in the summer of 2014, the controversial Kızılırmak water was given again.

The purpose of this study is to introduce water resources and water structures of Ankara and legislation in order the o identify the reason of water shortage. Then importance of the two abandoned dams of Ankara, namely Cubuk I and Kayas-Bayındır will be discussed for the safe supply of water.


In early 1920s Ankara were hosting 20-30 thousands inhabitants and it jumped to the figure of 75 000 in 1927 after receiving the title of capital city. Cubuk Dam-I and supplementary infrastructures were built between the dates of 1931 and 1936 for a projected population of 160.000. Cubuk Dam-I is the first dam of Turkey, after the establishment of the Turkish Republic. Cubuk Dam-I is located on the Cubuk stream and 12km north of the Ankara city with the purposes of domestic and industrial water supply and flood control. The design of reservoir and the appurtenant structures was done by Prof. Dr. Walter Kunze with the collaboration of local engineers. It supplied domestic water to the city for a long time but abonded in 1993 due to deteritation of water quality which is outcome of siltation within the reservoir and industrial pollution at the upstream. Kayas-Bayındır Dam is located on 12 km southeast of Ankara, on the Kayas-Bayındır stream. It is an earthfill dam with the purpose of domestic and industrial water supply and flood control. The construction of the dam was started in 1962 and completed in 1965. Currently Kayas-Bayındır Dam is not supplying domestic and industrial water to the city of Ankara. The area surrounding the reservoir is used for recreational purposes such as picnic field and housing projects are launched.


Today Ankara receiving water from several reservoirs as given in Table below. Cubuk I and Kayas-Bayındır Dam are not connected to the water supply system. Deterition of the water quality of Cubuk Dam-I is mainly due to industrial development at the upstream. Therefore water quality should be still under consideration since the water of Cubuk Stream has been in use for agricultural purpose. Further siltation can be managed (Tigrek and Aras, 2011). On the other hand Kayas-Bayındır dam is crucial to maintain safe water supply to higher elevations although it has a relatively small capacity.

Table 1 Water supply sources of Ankara

Two master plan reports commissioned by DSI, the 1969 Master Plan and the 1995 Master Plan, prepared short term and long-term solutions were suggested. On the other hand water management authority has been re-structured after 1980. The governance was gradually transferred to a municipal body namely, Ankara Water and Sewerage Administration (ASKI), from General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works (DSI). However, the knowledge and experience may not be transferred completely.


In the present study, the story of Cubuk Dam-I and Kayas-Bayındır Dam is presented. The quality is an important issue, however the water storage structures have benefits to the society but at the same time have several negative impacts on environment. Thus, ones it is built, the structure should be used as long as possible. This may not bring back change of environment but can prevent to build new structures. Sustainability in water structures has been long debate. Do we have right to abandoned dams which can be functioned further?

Carter, F. Tiğrek, Ş. and Kibaroğlu, A. (2012). Water supply crissis in Ankara: Review and Comparison of the "1995 Master Plan Report on Ankara Water Supply Project", Vol. 7(3), 288-299, 2012 , DOI: 10.5897/SRE10.833.

Ceylan, A. (2002), Drought Management Plan for Ankara, Master Theses, Ankara, Turkish State Meteorological Service.

Tiğrek, Ş. and Aras, T. (2011) Reservoir Sediment Management, 226 sayfa., Leiden, the Netherlands, CRC Press/Balkema.

Yıldız, O. (2007). Investigating Frequency and Spatial Characteristics of Droughts in the Central Anatolian Region. Int. Congr River Basin Manage. 2: 235-243, 22-24.

2011 IWRA - International Water Resources Association - - Admin