The Effect of Climate Change on Hydroelectric Energy Production in the Upper Euphrates Basin: A Review

The Effect of Climate Change on Hydroelectric Energy Production in the Upper Euphrates Basin: A Review

Dursun Yıldız

C.E Hydropolitcs Expert (M.Sc.)

Hydropolitics Association,



Türkiye, the upper riparian country of the Euphrates River Basin contributes 89 % to the flow of the Euphrates River flow [23]. Especially in the Turkish part of the Euphrates River Basin, it is estimated that precipitation and snowfall in the basin will decrease by 30–40% by the end of the century [24].

Keban, Karakaya, and Atatürk Dams are located in line with the Euphrates River and still generate about 12% of the total amount of hydroelectric energy of Türkiye. Keban Dam is the most upstream dam among them.The water released from the Keban Dam is used by other dams to generate hydroelectric energy in a synchronized manner.

All of these dams have started to generate energy together since 1993. This study aims to investigate the causes of decreasing annual energy generation from all three dams between 1993 and 2022. In this study, we have noticed that the total electricity generated from these three dams has started to gradually decrease since 1998. In the last five years, it has been determined that this energy has decreased by one-quarter compared to the start of generation. In the study, the reasons for this decrease were investigated, and the results obtained were presented.

As a result, the total electricity generation from Keban, Karakaya, and Atatürk Dams has gradually decreased by 25% in the last 30 years compared to the energy generation starting in the early 1990s. The decrease in the hydroelectric energy will have economic consequences in Türkiye as well as will affect the water management and hydropolitics of the region. We obtained that the decline in electrical energy generation is in great correlation with the droughts in the region. This shows that a decrease in rainfall and snowfall has led to a decrease in the average annual flow of the Euphrates River in the last 30 years.

This result is also compatible with the results of many scientific studies on climate change effects in the Euphrates and Tigris River Basin and analyses of the average annual snowfall measurements in the Upper Euphrates River basin. We hope that this study will be beneficial to raising regional awareness about climate change effects in regional hydropolitics as well as climate change adaptation measures to be taken.

Keywords:- Climate Change,Euphrates River Basin, Hydroelectric Energy, Transboundary River,Water-Energy Nexus,Water Management .


Hydroelectric energy, as a domestic and renewable energy source, has an important place in Türkiye's energy generation in economic and strategic terms. In 2022, 20% of electrical energy generation was provided by hydroelectric energy in Türkiye. In 2022, the total hydroelectric energy generation in Türkiye was 67195.4 GWh. 17.5% of this generation which is 11784.5 Gwh, was generated in Keban, Karakaya and Atatürk Dams.[5]

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