Assessment and simulation of water transfer for the megacity Istanbul

Burak Z. S., Bilge A. H., Ülker D.

Physical Geography, vol.42, pp.1-26, 2021 (SCI-Expanded)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 42
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/02723646.2021.1904698
  • Journal Name: Physical Geography
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Aqualine, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), Environment Index, INSPEC, DIALNET
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-26
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


The population of Istanbul increased from three to fifteen million from 1970 to 2018. The city, which has no perennial fresh water resources within its metropolitan boundaries, has long imported water from other basins. In this study, the performance of a reservoir system fed by surface runoff and inter-basin water transfer is investigated and applied. Simulations are run for water demand estimates and with Gamma-distributed realizations of monthly precipitation, based on 105-year temperature and precipitation data. The research shows that after 2060, existing and transferred water alone will not be sufficient to meet demand and it is expected that the megacity Istanbul will be on a path towards water crisis after this date, if not before. It is concluded that it is vital to adopt a more diversified water supply and demand management portfolio with extensive Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) measures for “Water Sensitive Cities”. Strategies for reliable system operation that take foreseeable environmental problems into account are proposed.