Determination of sub-basins of Turkey using GIS techniques

S. Girgin*, Z. Akyürek, N. Usul

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


Turkey has been divided into 26 basins for studies related to water resources development. Surface areas of the basins range between 6 ,300 - 127,500 km2, the average being approximately 30,000 km2. Compared with nested watershed classification of U.S., the average size of Turkish national basins corresponds to the third-level (basins). Currently, a forth-level (sub-basins) with an average size of 1,820 km2 reside below the basins in U.S. classification. Even these sub-basins are found to be too large to adequately serve many water resource management needs. Two additional levels (watersheds and sub-watersheds) are currently under development in order to solve this problem. Taking this fact into consideration, currently existing basins of Turkey are supposed to be too large for effective water resources management and there is a need for delineation of sub-basins in a scientific manner. In this study, the boundaries of proto-type sub-basins are determined by using DEM-based automated delineation techniques. For this purpose, 30 arc-seconds SRTM30 DEM is re-projected into an equal area projection, hydrologie sinks are filled and inaccurate elevation values are corrected. In order to prevent invalid delineation of closed basins that cover approximately 10% of the country, water bodies located at the center of these basins are extracted from Global Land Cover Characteristics dataset of USGS and excluded from the process. Among the alternatives, Deterministic-8 (D-8) algorithm with modifications by Garbrecht and Martz is used to calculate flow direction and flow accumulation grids. Using these grids, a set of candidate sub-basins are generated by applying different area thresholds. A threshold of 1,000 km2 resulted in 359 sub-basins with an average size of 1,858 km2, both of which are found to be appropriate and manageable for nationwide usage. Similarity of the average size of the delineated sub-basins to that of U.S. sub-basins also supports this result.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationManaging Watersheds for Human and Natural Impacts
Subtitle of host publicationEngineering, Ecological, and Economic Challenges - Proceedings of the 2005 Watershed Management Conference
EditorsG.E. Moglen
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes
Event2005 Watershed Management Conference: Managing Watersheds for Human and Natural Impacts: Engineering, Ecological, and Economic Challenges - Williamsburg, United States
Duration: 19 Jul 200522 Jul 2005

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 2005 Watershed Management Conference - Managing Watersheds for Human and Natural Impacts: Engineering, Ecological, and Economic Challenges


Conference2005 Watershed Management Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • ITC-CV


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