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WWF and ETİ promote water conservation methods in Konya

HDN | 4/29/2010 12:00:00 AM |

WWF and ETİ Burcak have teamed up to train Konya farmers in modern irrigation methods as part of efforts to raise awareness about water conservation.

An international environmental group has teamed up with a Turkish cookie and cracker manufacturer to train Konya farmers in modern irrigation methods as part of efforts to raise awareness about water conservation and climate change.

The World Wildlife Fund, or WWF, and ETİ Burçak formed a partnership in 2008 that aims to educate Turkish people about the impending threat of climate change. The project’s first major initiative will promote modern, water-conserving irrigation methods in the Konya area in Central Anatolia and then expand gradually to other agricultural centers throughout Turkey.

“The threats of climate change are constantly increasing, and its impact has already started; therefore, it is crucial for us to start acting now,” WWF Turkey Chief Executive Officer Akın Öngor said Tuesday at a press conference in Istanbul.

“If modern irrigation methods are implemented, there is a potential in the Konya area alone to conserve up to three years’ worth of Istanbul’s annual water supply,” Öngör said, adding that the challenge is to realize this potential and work to make the savings happen.

According to Öngör, 70 percent of the water reservoirs in the Konya closed basin, a drainage basin that retains water and allows no outflow, are illegal, resulting in the waste of 1.5 years’ worth of the water needed by Istanbul in just that one area.

The WWF-ETİ Burçak project aims to train 3,000 farmers and members of the agriculture industry about methods of conserving core natural resources such as soil and water.

To establish the most effective methods of training, the project team created different climate scenarios for the years 2015, 2030 and 2050. Climate projections for these dates show that the temperature in the Konya closed basin will increase by 2 or 3 degrees, and up to 4 to 6 degrees by 2030, according to Buket Durak, WWF Turkey’s nature-protection coordinator.

“The increase in temperature will have many other consequences, such as a reduction in rainfall of between 20 and 30 percent, which is why water conservation has to start now,” Durak said.

The project aims to encourage as many farmers as possible to use modern irrigation equipment at a minimal cost to them, Durak said, explaining that banks have been supporting the project by giving credit at low interest rates to farmers who are willing to purchase such equipment.

The training program will begin in Konya in May.

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