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The Atatürk Dam project in south-east Turkey: Changes in objectives and planning over time
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2002 (English)In: Natural resources forum (Print), ISSN 0165-0203, E-ISSN 1477-8947, Vol. 26, no 2, 101-112 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Atatürk Dam was constructed on the Euphrates River in Turkey in the 1980s as the central component of a large-scale regional development project for the South-eastern Anatolia region, known as GAP. Since the first development plan for the region was presented in 1970, the objectives for regional development have changed significantly.

This article aims to analyze how the functions, design, and capacities of the Atatürk Dam project have been modified since 1970, paralleling changes in the regional development objectives and ambitions, and to identify accomplishments and constraints in the realization of the dam project.

Since 1970, ambitions to develop the region have grown significantly, resulting in major changes to the original project plans. The most important change occurred in 1978, when the design for the Middle Karababa Dam, recommended in 1970, was abandoned and the Atatürk Dam design was adopted. This change considerably increased the storage and power generation capacities of the dam. Yet, the sparse rainfall throughout the catchment in recent years has hampered full utilization of the dam’s storage and generation capacities and increased the need for tradeoffs between conflicting demands for water use.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. Vol. 26, no 2, 101-112 p.
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-78954DOI: 10.1111/1477-8947.00011OAI: diva2:537201
Available from: 2012-06-26 Created: 2012-06-26 Last updated: 2012-07-19Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Environmental considerations in the planning of large dam projects: a study on Environmental Impact Statements and the Southeastern Anatolia Project
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental considerations in the planning of large dam projects: a study on Environmental Impact Statements and the Southeastern Anatolia Project
2003 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Large dam projects have played a key role in supporting societal development in the past and continue to be launched, primarily in developing countries. However, large dam projects also cause extensive environmental impacts in the river system, which may reduce the river system's capacity to provide goods, services, and other values apart from those generated by the project. The Environmental Impact Statement (ElS) has become a key instrument for enabling prevention, minimization, and mitigation of significant adverse environmental effects of major projects in early planning. The potential of EISs to support compromise building between conflicting interests is also increasingly recognized. In reality, the great potentials of the ElS are rarely fully utilized, which motivate further improvements.

This thesis has three main objectives, Le. (i) to examine the motives behind large dam projects, their impact on project planning, and some constraints for full project realization, (ii) to identify shortcomings in EISs and other project-related reports regarding the extent to and manner in which potential environmental effects of large dam projects are attended to, and (iii) to suggest measures for how to improve the capacity of EISs to support impact minimization and compromise building in project plarming and decision-making.

Based on a case study on the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) in southeast Turkey, it was found that the objectives and planning of large dam projects can change significantly over time, in response to changes in the underlying ambitions and motives for development. While changes to the design may increase the dam's technical capacity to store water and generate hydropower, the actual potential to utilize its installed capacities during recurrent droughts may be limited. An increased scale and number ofdam project objectives may also lead to increased competition over the river water. Full realization of dam project objectives may be hampered by the climate and by growing water demands of competing uses. Moreover, an analysis of GAP-related reports revealed imbalances in the total degree of attention given to individual environmental problems, different categories of environmental problems, and to environmental problems of dam projects and irrigation schemes, respectively, as weIl as shifts in the focus of attention over time from early plarming to implementation. The fmdings suggest that project-related reports tend to focus on problematic environmental conditions that motivate project implementation, and on potential environmental effects that may undermine project productivity, viability, or longevity, particularly in planning and early implementation. In contrast, those potential environmental effects with no apparent bearing on the financial or operational success of the project tend to be largely neglected unless strong incentives are created.

The analysis ofEISs of large dam projects revealed shortcomings in the attention given to root causes and impact pathways involved in the generation of higher-order environmental effects and cumulative impacts. Important imbalances were also found in the degree of attention given to different types of environmental effects. In order to improve the capacity of EISs to explain how higher-order effects and cumulative impacts may arise, network analysis and cause-effect diagrams should be increasingly adopted. This thesis also proposes a conceptual framework to facilitate a comparison of desired and undesired effects, based on the view of a river system as a provider of goods and services, which enables the translation of ecological effects into their societal and economic implications.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2003. 76 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 272
Atatürk Dam. EIA, ecosystem services, environmental impact, Euphrates River, GAP, hydropower, river system, sustainable development, Tigris River, Turkey, Dammar, Miljöaspekter, Tigris, Turkiet
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-29569 (URN)14944 (Local ID)91-7373-649-X (ISBN)14944 (Archive number)14944 (OAI)
Public defence
2003-05-22, Elysion, Hus T, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2014-09-01Bibliographically approved

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