Estimation of irrigation return flow on monthly time resolution using SWAT model under limited data availability
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This study is an assessment of the return flow ratio of an irrigation abstraction using the flow records of a downstream stream-gauging station, with the example of the Kozluk scheme irrigated by diverted water from Garzan Creek flowing through the southeastern region of Turkey. In the planning reports of the major dam projects of the region, an unverified return ratio was assumed in eliminating the influence of this irrigation on the flow measurements of Garzan Creek. The correctness of this assumed return ratio is evaluated by analysing the monthly streamflow measurements of the Besiri station through a Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model constructed with the coarse-scale topography, land use and soil data from open source databases. The results show the necessity of irrigation project-based return flow analyses using regional fine-scale datasets, instead of rule-of-thumb assumptions, to determine the effects of irrigation activities on flow regimes more accurately.