Effects of anthropogenic activities on the Lower Sakarya River

Isik S., DOĞAN E., Kalin L., Sasal M., Agiralioglu N.

CATENA, vol.75, no.2, pp.172-181, 2008 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 75 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.catena.2008.06.001
  • Journal Name: CATENA
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.172-181
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


We investigate the effects of anthropogenic activities on the Lower Sakarya River. The impacts of dam, levee, and bridge constructions, sand-gravel mining activities and water withdrawals during the industrialization period of the Sakarya River Basin have been explored by analyzing flow. sediment and channel cross section data from different periods in time by comparing pre- and post-1975 periods. The year 1975 is roughly determined to be commencement of heavy human activities. Assessment of data shows that average annual flow is reduced by almost 20% after 1975. Due to increased regulations after 1975 flow became less variable, i.e. low-flows are increased and high-flows are reduced. How showed less variation with seasons during the post-1975 period compared to the pre-1975 period. Close inspection of precipitation and temperature patterns over the course of this period indicates that these changes in the flow regime cannot be attributed to natural causes and must be instigated by anthropogenic activities. Analyses of sediment data point toward a consistent reduction in sediment concentration and loadings with years in the Lower Sakarya River. Sediment rating curves developed for pre- and post-1975 exhibit a similar pattern. The impact of the anthropogenic activities on the river cross section is also examined by employing data from 1965, 2003 and 2006 at various points along the river profile. We found as much as I m aggradation at the thalweg elevation along the river profile starting from the river mouth up to the 12th km. Degradation in thalweg elevation is observed upstream of the 12th km, as much as 7 m at some locations. This research clearly undermines how human activities can alter the river hydrology and morphology. The adverse impacts of these modifications on the stream ecology in the Lower Sakarya River unfortunately remain unresolved. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.