Ataturk Dam
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Ataturk Dam

September 17, 2003
Turkey’s Ataturk Dam was completed in 1990. It is the largest of a series of dams along the two major rivers of the region, the Tigris and Euphrates, which both have their headwaters in southeastern Turkey. Built both to generate electricity for the region and to irrigate the plains between the Euphrates (on which it sits) and the Tigris (to the east), Ataturk Dam is the centerpiece of a huge public works program within Turkey known as the Southeastern Anatolia Project. When the entire program of reservoirs, power generation stations, and irrigation channels is constructed, it will irrigate some 1.7 million hectares (4.2 million acres). The reservoir already provides 8.9 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, roughly 22 percent of Turkey’s anticipated electrical needs in 2010, when the project is expected to be completed. With the dam now finished, as well as the first of the irrigation channels, crops such as cotton are being grown in the Harran Plains in the dry season, where

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