Second-largest irrigation project opens in Central Anatolia
KONYA - Anadolu Agency
AA PhotoThe Blue Tunnel Project began transferring water to the Konya Plain in Central Anatolia on May 21, an official from the State Water Works Department has confirmed.
The second-largest irrigation scheme in Turkey after the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP), the Blue Tunnel aims to provide the Konya Plain with 414 million cubic meters of water annually in order to maintain agriculture and save wildlife.
“We are witnessing a historic event as Konya has been dreaming of redirecting from the Göksu, a 260-km-long river in southern Turkey, to the Konya Plain,” Mustafa Uzun, a water official, told Anadolu Agency.
The tunnel, the most important leg of the massive Konya Plain Project, will enable 235,000 hectares of agricultural land to be irrigated with water which flows from the Mediterranean Basin to the Konya Closed Basin.
“The water of Göksu River is collected in Bağbaşı Dam, which was constructed in the first phase of the project with a 180-million-cubic-meter capacity, and is directed to Konya Plain with the 17-km-long Blue Tunnel,” Uzun said.
“With this project, the climate of Konya will be changed, the product range will be increased and 700 million cubic meters of water will feed Konya Plain instead of emptying into the Mediterranean Sea,” he claimed.
The Konya Plain is Turkey’s largest producer of cereals, including wheat, barley and oats.
The meandering Göksu River, which empties into the Mediterranean in Mersin province, is composed of two tributaries that run through the provinces of Antalya, Konya and Karaman.