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The Emerging Flood Risk on the Lower Part of Transboundary Meric/Maritsa River Basin

Dogan Yildiz Department of Statistics, Yildiz Technical University 34220, Istanbul, Turkey E-mail:

Dursun Yildiz Hydropolitics Association, Ankara, Turkey E-mail:

Mehmet Samil Gunes (Corresponding author) Department of Statistics, Yildiz Technical University 34220, Istanbul, Turkey E-mail:

Abstract Meric (Maritsa, Evros) River is not only a transboundary river but also a border river among Turkey, Bulgaria and Greece. 65% of its catchment area is within the borders of Bulgaria. A portion of the lower part of Meric River constitutes the Turkey-Greece border, and the other portion of it flows in Turkey. The effects of global climate change are observed in the Meric River Basin. The changes on precipitation and temperature over the upper part of Meric River Basin situated in Bulgaria cause major problems in the lower part of the river basin in Turkey. Climate changes that have occurred in Bulgaria and projections on climate change over region, the Maritsa River water management approaches. Turkey has constructed a bay pass channel to protect Edirne city and surrounding agricultural lands from transboundary floods. This by pass channel is 7,8 km long 50 m width and 4 m depth has been almost completed. This channel capacity is about 1000 m3/s. This channel together with the original river bed will transmit flood discharge to Meric River bed about 7,5 km downstream of the Edirne City. Although it is completed recently, Lower Part of the Meric Basin is still under the flood risk and flood problems such as deterioration of water quality, ecosystem problems and socio-economic problems of the local population. Prevention and/or mitigation of these problems depend on the effective implementation of integrated transboundary watershed management strategies in the joint coordination among Turkey, Bulgaria and Greece. In this study we aim to investigate flood risk on the Lower Part of the Maritsa River Basin and necessary measures need to be taken in both side of the river. In this context, we also focused on hydrographic effect of Edirne By pass Channel, as well as run off from inter basin (Byala River-Greece) to the Lower Part of the Meric River and raising awareness on the importance of a basin wide flood management project. Altough Turkey implemented a by-pass channel to protect the Edirne city from transboundary floods of Meric River, additional measures such as basin wide flood management project , need to be taken to protect both side of the river bed in the lower part of the basin.

Keywords: Edirne by Pass Channel, Maritsa Floods, Maritsa Basin, Lower Maritsa Basin. DOI: 10.7176/JSTR/5-9-01

1. Introduction

The Maritsa/Meric River is the largest river in the Balkan Peninsula. It originates in Bulgaria, and mark the border between Turkey and Greece. Intensive agriculture is widespread within the Maritsa basin. The basin is also highly industrialized and densely populated with the largest cities. Close to Edirne, the Maritsa’s two largest tributaries, the Tunca and Arda, join the main flow of the Maritsa/Meriç. Throughout the Maritsa/Meric catchment area a significant number of reservoirs and weirs have been constructed for irrigation and hydroelectricity production purposes.

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The Emerging Flood Risk on the Lower Part of Transboundary Meric Maritsa River Basin

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