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Global Map of Irrigation Areas (GMIA)

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Introduction Latest version (5.0) Irrigation by country Methodology
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Syrian Arab Republic

The extent of irrigated land in the Syrian Arab Republic increased from 670 134 ha in 1989 to 1 088 891 ha in 1995 [SY01] and to 1 439 100 ha in 2004 [SY02], [SY03]. Then it declined again to 1 238 300 ha in year 2009 [SY03]. Area equipped for irrigation was calculated for each province as the maximum of irrigated areas reported for period 2004 – 2008 [SY03]. Total AEI calculated for the Syrian Arab Republic was 1 489 000 ha. The irrigated area per province is shown in the table below, also downloadable as Syrian Arab Republic irrigation areas in PDF or Syrian Arab Republic irrigation areas in Excel.

The irrigated areas were digitized from an irrigation map covering the west of the country [SY04] and from two land-use maps ([SY05]; [SY06]). In addition, satellite imagery [SY07] was used to locate recently developed schemes and to adjust the outlines of the digitized polygons. Digitized areas have been in good agreement to irrigated land shown on a land use map prepared by ICARDA [SY08].

In year 2004, in which irrigated land reached its maximum extent, irrigated area with water supply from wells was 864 700 ha while government projects (mainly reservoirs) provided water for 340 200 ha and streams provided water for 234 200 ha [SY03]. For each province, the fraction of AEI that was irrigated with groundwater was set to the fraction of AEI irrigated from wells in year 2004. This procedure resulted in a total AEI irrigated with groundwater of 889 668 ha (59.7 percent of total AEI). Area actually irrigated was calculated for each province as the annual mean of the AAI reported for period 2004 – 2008 [SY03]. Total AAI calculated that way was 1 403 200 ha.


[SY01]: World Bank. 2001. Syrian Arab Republic - irrigation sector report. Rural Development, Water, and Environment Group, Middle East and North Africa Region. Report No. 22602-SYR, 27/03/2004.
[SY02]: FAO. 2012. AQUASTAT country profile of the Syrian Arab Republic, version 2008. FAO, Rome,, 07/12/2012.
[SY03]: Central Bureau of Statistics. 2005-2010. Statistical Abstract 2004 – 2009., 07/12/2012.
[SY04]: Hopfinger, H. 1993. Die syrische Bewässerungslandwirtschaft zwischen Staatseinfluß und freier Entfaltung privatwirtschaftlicher Tätigkeit. In H. Popp & K. Rother, eds. Die Bewässerungsgebiete im Mittelmeerraum, pp. 127-135. Passau, Germany, Passavia Universitätsverlag.
[SY05]: Universität Tübingen. 1993. Tübinger Atlas des Vorderen Orients (TAVO), Plate AX4. Reichert, Germany, Wiesbaden.
[SY06]: Universität Tübingen. 1993. Tübinger Atlas des Vorderen Orients (TAVO), Plate AX6. Reichert, Germany, Wiesbaden.
[SY07]: Earth Satellite Corporation. 2004. Landsat GeoCover (2000/ETM+) Edition Mosaics, tiles 071-272, 071-273, 071-287 and 071-288. Sioux Falls, USA, USGS,
[SY08]: De Pauw, E., Oberle, A., Zöbisch, M. 2004. Overview of land cover and land use in Syria. Base year 1989/1990. ICARDA, Aleppo, Syria, 31 pp.

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