Irrigation Management and Water Pricing in Turkey

Irrigation Management and Water Pricing in Turkey

Erol H. Cakmak (Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/jsesd.2010040102
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Irrigated agriculture in Turkey currently consumes 75 percent of the total water consumption, which corresponds to about 30 percent of the renewable water supply. Unfavorable future global climate and economic conditions will increase the stress in the water sector. The operation and maintenance (O&M) of almost all large surface irrigation schemes developed by the state has been transferred to irrigation associations governed by the farmers. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of irrigation management practices and an evaluation of irrigation water pricing after the transfer using price data at the association level since 1999. Results indicate that both irrigation water charges and collection rates increased following the transfer. However, the recuperation of investment costs for irrigation development from the users has remained minimal. The price of the irrigation water continued to be on per hectare basis, and farmers using pumping water face 2.5 times higher water charge per hectare then the gravity water users. The uptake of more efficient water application technology accompanied by pricing mechanisms reflecting scarcity value of water will certainly ease the adjustment burden of the irrigation sector in the future.
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2. Overview Of Water Sector And Irrigation

Irrigation development in Turkey has been remarkable during the last 40 years. Irrigated area increased by about 2.5 times since 1970s. The share of the area developed by public agencies is 80 percent. The rest is developed by the farmers themselves. The objective

of State Hydraulic Works (DSI) is to increase the irrigated area from 5.2 to 8.5 million hectares of irrigated land by 2023 (DSI, 2008a).

Turkey’s climate is moderated by both the Mediterranean and continental weather patterns which displays geo-climatic diversity when combined with a highly varied topography. The annual average precipitation is 643mm, yet varies from 250mm in the central part to 3,000mm in the Eastern Black Sea region. Seventy-five percent of annual rain falls during the winter season. The diverse precipitation structure emphasizes the crucial importance of irrigation.

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