Southeastern anatolia development project - IEEE Xplore

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southeastern region of Turkey contains the northern end of the. Mesopotamian .... water recycling, and to avoid environmental problems such as sa- linity and ...

Olcay Unver

Southeastern Anatolia Development Project T


urkey is one of the largest countries in the Middle East and was home for some of the world’s earliest civilizations. The southeastern region of Turkey contains the northern end of the Mesopotamian Plain, the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, with mountain ranges along the northern limits of this plain. This region, referred to as Southeastern Anatolia, contains 10% of Turkey’s land and population, covering 75,000 km2, with a population of over 6 million people. The Southeastern Anatolia Project, called “GAP” for its initials in Turkish, is a regional development project aiming at the full-fledged socioeconomic development of the northern end of the Mesopotamian plain. GAP is unique in the size and scope of the projects it is implementing, in its relationship to a variety of stakeholder organizations, and in its mission to coordinate sustainable human development that derives its momentum from water resources development. The water development program of GAP includes 13 main irrigation and energy projects, seven of which are in the lower Euphrates subbasin and six in the Tigris subbasin. There are 22 dams, 19 hydropower plants, and irrigation networks to irrigate 1.7 million hectares of land. The installed capacity to be created is approximately 7,500 MW, with an annual hydroelectric production of 27 billion kWh. GAP’s original purpose was to oversee infrastructure projects such as dams, power plants, and irrigation schemes on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. But GAP has transformed into an integrated project based on the concept of sustainability, targetThis article is part of a series based on a panel session on “Harnessing Untapped Hydropower Worldwide,” which was held during the 2001 IEEE PES Summer Meeting. O. Unver is with the Regional Development Administration, South Eastern Anatolia Project (GAP), Turkey. 10

ing human development, and covering investments in such fields as: ● Urban and rural infrastructure ● Education ● Agriculture ● Health ● Transportation ● Housing ● Industry ● Tourism.

Summary of GAP Region

The GAP region in Southeast Turkey faces many of the problems that are typical of underdeveloped regions in the world. Compared with the rest of Turkey, the region has had higher fertility rates, higher infant mortality, and lower literacy rates due to less access to health care and education. The region also experienced net out-migration— both seasonal agricultural migration and permanent rural-to-urban out-migration— as a response to high unemployment in the region. The region’s economy is based largely on agriculture, but productivity historically has been low. In 1985, per capita income in the region was half of the national average, and the region, which has 10% of the country’s area and population, accounted for only 4% of the GNP. The GAP region also has urban centers that are experiencing rapid growth and that have had problems keeping infrastructure development in pace with rural-urban migration. So the region presents challenges in terms of both rural and urban development [1]-[3].

Developing a Vision for Southeastern Anatolia

Given the development challenges of Southeastern Anatolia and the opportunities presented by the region’s water and land resources, the Turkish Republic created GAP as a water resources development package, including the construction of dams, irrigation systems, and hydroelectric plants. In

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IEEE Power Engineering Review, March 2002

1989, the government took this development a step further by preparing the GAP Master Plan. This Master Plan established the general framework for integrated regional development by creating a separate entity, the GAP Regional Development Administration (GAP-RDA), and giving it responsibility for the coordination of development in several sectors, including the social, environmental, and economic development within the region. The GAP-RDA was given authority for multisector planning, the ability to integrate water and land use planning and development, independence from the existing government hierarchy, and the flexibility to collaborate with the private sector, local governments, NGOs, international organizations, and professional societies. This broad scope and relative freedom of movement has afforded GAP-RDA a unique opportunity to bring about integrated, sustainable human development for the entire region. GAP-RDA also has adopted the basic components of the Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, such as the protection of natural resources, business development, and social development, with a special emphasis on programs targeting disadvantaged groups.

GAP and Integrated Sustainable Human Development

GAP’s unique mandate allows it to integrate various social and economic sectors. This integration is described as three pillars that support sustainable human development: ● Public investments ● Private sector involvement ● People’s participation. The collective support of all three pillars provides a secure foundation for development that is economically viable, human centered, and sustainable. These three elements work together to bring about sustainable human development and address issues such as gender, economic viability, environmental and spatial sustainability, and fairness in development.

GAP and Sustainable Irrigation

To ensure that its projects are environmentally sound, GAP implements several plans to maximize efficient water use, promote water recycling, and to avoid environmental problems such as salinity and water-logging. By providing training to farmers on irrigation and new farming techniques, we can optimize water use. By controlling drainage, reusing irrigation return water, and using proper technological inputs, we can limit water-logging and salinity, and conserve water. In addition, GAP has engaged in environmentally conscientious site selection for large projects and implemented erosion control and watershed rehabilitation. GAP provides advice and training to local farmers who have formed local water user groups. These water user groups collectively manage the end use of irrigation, collect payments for irrigation services, and engage in other participatory activities. Recent projects that tested this management model in the GAP Region showed an 11% savings in water use and an increase of 177.5% in cropping intensity due to the shift to growing two crops per year. GAP envisions the expansion of sustainable irrigation projects for 100% of the economically irrigable land in the region by the year 2010. GAP envisions adequate training in water conservation, irrigation management, and appropriate farming techniques provided to all farmers in irrigated areas. IEEE Power Engineering Review, March 2002

Sustainability of the Agricultural System

In order to sustain the agricultural development realized in the region, we have strengthened the extension services offered to farmers in the region and provide training in new farming techniques. Agricultural lands have been consolidated in order to improve efficiency in irrigation and land use, and State-owned agricultural lands have been redistributed to landless farmers. As a result of irrigation and training projects, we are now seeing changes in income levels in the irrigated areas. The per capita income in the agricultural sector has more than tripled. The people benefiting from this are obviously spending more money, because the market is very active.

Economic Sustainability/Viability

Water projects are designed to develop local economies and as these economies grow, more and more entrepreneurs will need help planning for their technological capacity, new markets, and continued growth. GAP-RDA, in partnership with the UNDP, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and the Turkish Development Bank, has established Entrepreneurship Support and Guidance Centers (GIDEM) to meet this need. Five major cities in the GAP region now have GIDEM offices where local entrepreneurs can get help with market research, finding investors, and selecting technologies. GIDEM staff also provides information and consulting services to potential investors from other regions in Turkey and from abroad. The Turkish Republic is also establishing industrial zones, small industrial estates, and free zones in the region, as well as an international airport to support the exportation of local products. In addition, the central government is offering state land, tax incentives, and electric utility discounts to encourage investment in the region.

Spatial Sustainability

Spatial sustainability refers to the fair, efficient, and environmentally sound allocation of land and water resources. In GAP, this involves issues such as land use planning, transportation planning, and industrial site selection. GAP-RDA has urban zoning authority and has created a design portfolio of 134 projects for water supply and distribution, urban sewerage, solid waste facilities, electricity networks, and urban traffic.

GAP and Participatory Development

The participation of targeted beneficiaries is a guiding principle for development projects in GAP. From the management of irrigation systems by local water users’ associations to participatory urban and rural resettlement and urban zoning plans with people affected by dam reservoirs, GAP-RDA seeks to include beneficiaries in planning and implementation. When plans began for the Birecik Dam on the Euphrates River, GAP-RDA worked with the members of the communities facing submergence to develop participatory solutions in collaboration with municipal governments, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and the Sociology Association of Turkey. This included the selection of sites for resettlement, housing design, and choices for training in new economic activities. Community members that opted for a change in livelihood were provided vocational training and business consulting. Multipurpose community centers (ÇATOMs) were also created to support newly resettled women. (continued on page 23) 11

lic plants on the Winnipeg River. One is Pointe Du Bois (69 MW), built in 1911, and the other is Slave Falls (71 MW), built in 1931. These plants supply 45% of the energy requirements and 30% of the peak demand for Winnipeg Hydro’s 96,000 customers. In 1995, the KGS Group was retained by Winnipeg Hydro to conduct a preliminary engineering study comparing plant redevelopment versus plant rehabilitation. The study concluded that the old plant could be successfully rehabilitated, using the compact Straflo turbine technology, for a total cost of approximately $100 million less than the cost of building a new plant (estimated at $310 to $380 million in 1995 dollars). The total replacement of the original turbine generators was estimated to increase the plant capacity from 69 to 134 MW. Water power is a major source of renewable electrical energy, and the rehabilitation of Pointe du Bois generation station would nearly double the plant’s output with no major impact on the environment. The Straflo Demonstration Project was approved in 1996; construction commenced in 1998 and was completed in fall of 1999. This project saw the replacement of one existing 3.5 MW Francis turbine generator (1911) with a new 8.4 Straflo turbine generator. The KGS Group will base a decision on the replace-

ment of additional turbines upon an in-depth engineering and economic analysis and study of alternatives.


The author acknowledges the contributions and support of the following individuals: Ed Wojczynski, division manager, Power Planning & Development; Mike Johannesson, Resource Planning & Market Analysis; Glen Schneider, manager, Public Affairs; Anthonie Koop, Public Affairs; John Markowsky, manager, Major Projects; Brett Davies, System Planning; Kelvin Kent, System Planning; Ron Price, System Planning; Darryl Bukoski, Winnipeg Hydro, manager, Design & Planning.


[1] Insights newsletter, Manitoba Hydro, May 2001. [2] Insights newsletter, Manitoba Hydro, May 2000. [3] “Working with aboriginal groups,” HydroLines newsletter, Manitoba Hydro, vol. 40, June 2000. [4] J.B. Thorsteinsson, “Winnipeg Hydro’s innovative hydraulic turbine technology,” The Keystone Professional, Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of the Province of Manitoba, August 2000.

Southeastern Anatolia Development Project (continued from page 11)

GAP-RDA has collaborated with people from the public sector, from academia, and from NGOs to identify social problems in the GAP region and to target specific disadvantaged groups. As a result of this collaboration ÇATOMs were created. These are community-based centers where women and young girls are provided with skills in areas such as maternal and child health, hygiene, nutrition, home economics, and income generation (such as handicrafts, computer operation, greenhouses, etc.). Literacy instruction is also provided for those women who never had a chance to go to school, and mobile health care services are provided at these centers as well. It is at these centers that women get together, discuss their common problems, and develop a collective initiative to solve these problems. The participants themselves share in running the center and in deciding on the programs that will be conducted. There are now 22 of these centers in the region.

GAP and Sanitation and Health

The provision of access to safe drinking water and sanitation is a primary objective of GAP, but the supply of water alone does not guarantee an improvement in the health of a community. GAP is providing support to local health care initiatives in the region. Since women are often the keys to the health of the entire family, ÇATOM activities include training in maternal and child health, hygiene, and nutrition. Also, GAP is implementing a malaria surveillance program and programs to strengthen the provision of primary health care in the region.

Integrated Approach

Instead of relying on isolated, individual projects or on sectoral approaches to development, we have aimed at a multisectoral and integrated approach to development. The GAP master plan mentioned previously set out the terms for this approach, which include: ● A regional perspective ● Integration within and between sectors IEEE Power Engineering Review, March 2002

Multisectoral planning Flexibility in funding and implementation ● Hierarchical independence of existing ministries and entities ● Ability to coordinate public entities ● Accountability to the government, but at the same time flexibility to collaborate with the private sector, NGOs, international organizations, professional societies, and local governments. The integrated perspective that these terms provide for has led to the evolution of the sustainable development framework for GAP’s socioeconomic development program. ● ●


GAP is not just a water project, an economic development project, or just a social development project. We have integrated new ways of learning and new ways of organizing in order to respond in a coordinated way to the interconnected needs (environmental, economic, and social) of this region. Even though GAP is not just a water project, it has been precisely the management of water resources that has propelled all of the development described. GAP was born out of the need for a water project, and it is the sustainable use of our water resources that is the engine that drives all the economic, environmental, and social advances that we are experiencing in southeastern Anatolia.


[1] Project on the Improvement of Women’s Status in the GAP Region and their Integration to the Development Process, Southeastern Anatolia Project Regional Development Administration (TKV, Development Foundation of Turkey), Multipurpose Community Centers (ÇATOM), 1994. [2] Southeastern Anatolia Project Regional Development Administration (UNDP, United Nations Development Programme), “Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) sustainable development seminar report,” 1995. [3] “Water and development in Southeastern Anatolia,” in Essays on the Ilýsu Dam and GAP. London, U.K.: Turkish Embassy, 2000. 23