Turkey's energy need is increasing day by day. The required energy is mostly imported from foreign countries since it cannot be met by the country's own resources. However, Turkey has rich renewable water resources to produce energy. To fulfill the aim of closing this energy gap and using the country's water resources more efficiently, the hydropower potential of the Zab River Basin is investigated in this paper. The overall objective of the study is to evaluate the hydropower potential of the Zab River Basin using Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing methods, and utilize this potential for the economical development of the region and the country. Within the study, appropriate locations were determined for 12 dams in the basin; estimated costs and annual electric energy generation were calculated with the Simahpp Software. According to these calculations, the total cost, installed power capacity and the annual electric energy generation of the dams were found, respectively, as 838.753 x 10(6) US$, 580.928 MW and 1112.327 GWh. (C) 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.