Potential of Irrigated Agriculture in Syria

by Adel F. Bichara, Civ. Engr.; Alexandria, Egypt,

Serial Information: Issue 3, Pg. 358-366

Document Type: Journal Paper

Abstract: In the long term Syria has a high potential for development of irrigated agriculture. To define this potential, the available water and land resources are assessed. The total area of Syria is about 18.5 × 106 ha, of which only 618,000 ha are under irrigation and 3,117,000 ha are cropped under rainfed conditions. The available water resources in Syria are estimated at about 25 × 109 m³/yr taking into account the Syrian share of international rivers and excluding the Tigris River. Only 54% of the water volume is from the Euphrates, whereas the rest is divided between the Euphrates tributaries, other rivers, springs, and wells. At present only 8.9 × 109 m³/hr are being used, including 3.0 × 109 m³/hr, wasted to evaporation or to the sea. In order to fully utilize the available resources, around 1,500,000 ha may be irrigated. These will utilize about 20 × 109 m³/hr. This means increasing the area of irrigated land 150% in the future. This is a manageable target. If a rate of development of 80–100,000 ha per 5-yr plan is achieved, an expected development period of 40–50 yr would be required to develop the country's resources. Present achievements in this regard are around 12,000 ha/hr only.

Subject Headings: Irrigation | Developing countries | Irrigation water | Water resources | Rivers and streams | Rainfall | Wells (water) | Syria | Middle East

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