Ankara River, (Turkish: Ankara Çayı) is a small river that runs through the city of Ankara, Turkey. Because of long time exposure to sewage and industrial pollutants, it is no longer viable as a water source for irrigation even though it is still used for irrigation down stream, and causes cholera and other diseases in the city. During hot days, the smell of sewage from the river makes this environmental disaster even more obvious. There are World Bank funded projects to clean it up.
The river splits Ankara almost in half and crosses through many neighborhoods and the city landfill. There are many bridges built over it throughout the city and in some instances it is completely covered and encased in a tunnel.
The city was founded in the stone ages presumably because of the river. Hittites settled in Ankara 4000 years ago on the banks of the river. Alexander the Great conquered the city in 334 B.C. and established an important trading center on the river. The Roman emperor Augustus incorporated the city to Rome and continued trade near this river city. The city later became Byzantine but was lost to the Turks in 1073. Tamerlane fought Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I near the river at the Battle of Ankara. During the battle, Tamerlane diverted all the water from one of its tributaries the Çubuk creek, which left Bayezid's army who was downstream without water, and won the battle.
In response to the foul smell and disease emanating from the river, the city tasked the City Canalization Administration with a clean-up effort in 2006. Their plan was to join the river with the sewage system. All the water will be directed to the sewage system, the river will be covered completely in certain locations, and the only water left running through the river will be that of any precipitation. The plan will also eliminate the polluted irrigation problem downstream since the river itself will be dried up.
- WASAMED Thematic Network (1997). "The Effect of Irrigation with Ankara River that was polluted with Domestic and Industrial Wastes." (PDF). Retrieved 2008-03-31.
- The World Bank (1989-09-30). "Ankara Sewerage Project.". Retrieved 2008-03-31.
- Hürriyet Newspaper Online (2006-10-25). "Başkentlileri rahatsız eden Ankara Çayı açıktan akmayacak." (in Turkish). Retrieved 2008-03-31.
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