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Home > Basin > Karkheh > Focal Project in the Karkheh River Basin (PN57)

Full Project Title: Karkheh Basin Focal Project (PN57)


Small multi-purpose reservoirs are a widely used form of infrastructure for the provision of water including for domestic use, livestock and small-scale irrigation. Although reservoir ensembles store enough water to have a significant impact on the livelihoods of smallholders who use them, they have rarely been considered as systems, with synergies and tradeoffs resulting from the number and density of their structures.

The Karkheh Basin Focal Project was designed to collect and organize baseline information for future researchers and to highlight future research needs.

Research Highlights

Research highlights

The specific research findings and recommendations for the basin are:

  • The use of non-agricultural water measures is likely to be a more effective solution to remaining rural poverty in the Karkheh basin and Iran.
  • In the short to medium term, agricultural water policy and research should focus on improvements in physical water productivity so as to improve the use scarce water resources for given national food security priorities.
  • In the longer term, shift towards economic water productivity by moving water away from lower productivity grain production and towards higher value agricultural and other activities including hydropower generation and urban uses.
Project Outcomes

Project outcomes

  • Improved understanding and management of basin scale issues related to water productivity, poverty and water management.
Publications and Outputs

To view all outputs from project PN57 visit our document repository.

Selected publications and outputs

Journal articles

  1. Ahmad, M.D., A. Islam, L.P. Muthuwatta, P. Karimi, H. Turral 2009. Mapping basin level water productivity using remote sensing and secondary data in Karkheh river basin Iran. Special Issue: Water, food and livelihoods in river basins. Water International 34(1): 119-133.
  2. Assadzadeh, Ahmad. Submitted. Poverty in the Karkheh Basin, Iran. Agricultural Economics and Development, Scientific and Research Quarterly Journal of the Agricultural Planning and Economics Research Institute, Tehran, Iran.
  3. Gamage, M.S.D.N; Ahmad MD; Karimi P. 2007. Estimating cropped area and yield using time series of MODIS imagery based vegetation index in Gamasiab Sub-Basin of Karkheh River Basin, Iran. Sri Lankan Journal of Geo- Informatics, 4: 39-55.
  4. Masih I, Uhlenbrook S, Maskey S., Ahmad MD. forthcoming. Regionalization of a conceptual rainfall-runoff model based on similarity of the flow duration curve: A case study from the semi-arid Karkheh basin, Iran. Journal of Hydrology.
  5. Masih, I, M.D. Ahmad, H. Turral, S. Uhlenbrook, P. Karimi 2009. Analysing streamflow variability and water allocation for sustainable management of water resources in the Karkheh river basin, Iran. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 34:329-340.
  6. Masih, I., S. Uhlenbrook, S. Maskey, V. Smakhtin 2010. Streamflow trends and climate linkages in the Zagros mountains, Iran. Climatic Change. 22p. Published online: 16 Janurary 2010. DOI 10.1007/s10584-009-9793-x.

 Research reports

  1. Karkheh BFP Project report
  2. Marjanizadeh, S., Qureshi, A.S., Turral, H., Talebzadeh, P. 2009. From Mesopotamia to the third millennium: the historical trajectory of water development and use in the Karkheh RiverBasin, Iran. Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water Management Institute. 51p. (IWMI Working Paper 135)

Conference papers and presentations

  1. Ahmad MD, Islam A, Masih I, Lal M, Karimi P, Turral H. 2008. Mapping basin level water productivity using remote sensing and secondary data In Karkheh river basin Iran. Paper presented at the 13th IWRA World Water Congress on Global Changes and Water Resources, “Confronting the expanding and diversifying pressures”, Montpellier, France, 1-4 September 2008. 13p.
  2. Ahmad, M.D.; M.A. Islam, I. Masih, L.P. Muthuwatta, P. Karimi, H. Turral 2008. Water productivity mapping to identify opportunities to improve agricultural water management in the Karkheh River Basin, Iran. In Humphreys, E.; Bayot, R. S.; van Brakel, M.; Gichuki, F.; Svendsen, M.; Wester, P.; Huber-Lee, A.; Cook, S. Douthwaite, B.; Hoanh, Chu Thai; Johnson, N.; Nguyen-Khoa, Sophie; Vidal, A.; MacIntyre, I.; MacIntyre, R. (Eds.). Fighting poverty through sustainable water use: proceedings of the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food, 2nd International Forum on Water and Food, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 10-14 November 2008. Colombo, Sri Lanka: CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food. Vol.I. Keynotes; Crosscutting topics. pp.119-122. ISBN 978-92-990053-09.
Final Report
Project Partners

Project partners


Project Lead

Project lead


For more information on Phase 1 outputs please contact Udana Ariyawansa.