Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Rivers of Georgia - Kura river

RiverTotal length, kmLength within Georgia, kmCatchment area,thsd. km2
Kura River; Kura  is a river, also known from the Greek as the Cyru in the Caucasus Mountains. Starting in northeastern Turkey, it flows through Turkey to Georgia, then to Azerbaijan, where it receives the Aras River as a right tributary, and enters the Caspian Sea. The total length of the river is 1,515 kilometres (941 mi)
t rises in northeastern Turkey in a small valley in the Kars Upland of theLesser Caucasus. It flows west, then north and east past Ardahan, and crosses into Georgia. It arcs to the northwest, then into a canyon near Akhaltsikhe where it starts to run northeast in a gorge for about 75 kilometres (47 mi), spilling out of the mountains near Khashuri. It then arcs east and starts to flow east-southeast for about 120 kilometres (75 mi), past Gori, then near Mtskheta, flows south through a short canyon and along the west side of T'bilisi, the largest city in the region. The river flows steeply southeast past Rustavi and turns eastward at the confluence with the Khrami River, crossing the Georgia-Azerbaijan line and flowing across grasslands into Shemkir reservoir and thenYenikend reservoir
Most of the Kura River runs in the broad and deep valley between the Greater Caucasus andLesser Caucasus mountains, and the major tributary, the Aras, drains most of the southern Caucasus and the mountain ranges of the extreme northern Middle East. The entirety of Armeniaand most of Azerbaijan are drained by the Kura River, but the Kura does not pass through Armenia at all. Also in the Kura watershed are Turkey, Georgia, and a bit of northern Iran. Most of the elevation change in the river occurs within the first 200 kilometres (120 mi). While the river starts at 2,740 metres (8,990 ft) above sea level, the elevation is 693 metres (2,274 ft) by the time it reaches Khashuri in central Georgia, just out of the mountains, and only 291 metres (955 ft)when it reaches Azerbaijan.
Formerly navigable up to T'bilisi, the largest city on the river, the amount of water in the Kura has greatly diminished in the 20th century because of extensive use for irrigation, municipal water, and hydroelectricity generation. The Kura is regarded as one of the most stressed river basins in Asia. Most of the water comes from snow melt and infrequent precipitation in the mountains, which leads to severe floods and an abundance of water for a short time of the year (generally in June and July), and a relatively low sustainable baseflow. Forest cover is sparse, especially in the Kura and Aras headwaters, and most of the water that falls on the highlands becomes runoff instead of supplying groundwater. Attempts at flood control include the constructions of levees,dikes and dams, the largest of which is at Mingachevir, an 80-metre (260 ft)-high rockfill dam impounding over 15.73 cubic kilometres (12,750,000 acre·ft) of water] However, because of the high sediment content of rivers in the Kura basin,the effectiveness of these floodworks is limited and decreases every year