Page 52 - Water and DSİ

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4.1. Water History in Anatolia
The regions known as “cradles of civilization” have always been founded on the banks of rivers
since ancient times. Throughout history, it has always been societies that have had the opportunity
to benefit from rivers. Societies had established the most advanced civilizations of their era, but
they left their lands when they faced droughts. Ancient inscriptions and relics prove that the first
civilizations founded cities in ancient Mesopotamia, today known as the “fertile crescent”, between
the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. In 3500 BC, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers were connected by a
canal system constructed by the Sumerians, who benefited from these rivers more functionally.
Anatolia is located at the crossroads of many civilizations having many water facilities remained
various periods of last 4,000 years. For that reason, Turkey can be regarded as an open air museum
in the context of the relics of facilities of water resources development.
The Urartu civilization giving life to Van and its vicinity with many dams, reservoirs and irrigation
canals deserves being referred to as the “Hydraulic Civilization”. These facilities dating back to the
1000 BC played important role in transition from transhumance to settled communities engaging
farming. Some of the 2800 years old facilities are being used even in our day. The Semiramid canal
irrigating Gürpınar plain with an aqueduct over Hoşap stream as well as the Ferhat canal to the
south of Lake Balık testify to the high level of water technology developed by the Urartus. The
Hittite and Urartu civilizations on the east of Anatolia have played a pioneering role in the
development of science and culture including their water related engineering.
The civilizations of the western Anatolia, during Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods, have
further contributed to the emergence of a “water culture” in Anatolia. During these periods, water
springs in mountains paved the way
for water conveyance systems
adapting to topographic features of
the area and the replacement of canals
by aqueducts to bring water to
settlement areas. Water was stored,
then conveyed to settlement areas by
pipes. The first modern irrigation and
drainage facility in Anatolia dates back
to 1908-1914 (Ottoman period) as
“Çumra Irrigation and Drainage
At the beginning of Turkish Republic,
the State gave priority to the drainage
of swampy areas to combat against malaria. Then some small irrigation projects were introduced.
Upon the establishment of the State Hydraulic Works (DSI) General Directorate of in 1954
pursuant to Act no. 6200, investments in such projects as dam-reservoir construction, pumping,
regulation and irrigation networks etc. were intensified.
The General Directorates of Rural Services (GDRS) and Agrarian Reform were established to
ensure efficiency in irrigation by on-farm development and land rehabilitation projects. The water
resources having a flow of more than 500 liter per second fell within the mandate of the DSİ while
smaller surface flows fell within the mandate of the GDRS which was dissolved in 2005. SPAs
(Special Provincial Administrations) have taken over the responsibilities of GDRS.
Çumra Postalcık Regulator / KONYA
First Irrigation constructed by State (1907–1913