Drought threat looms over Turkey as dams dry up
With Turkey facing severe drought conditions, dams in several major cities in the country are drying up at an alarming rate, widely affecting daily life and agriculture, officials and experts have warned.
Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş has announced that the Turkish capital has 110 days of water supply left, warning that the lack of rainfall could cause a significant water shortage in the summer.
Yavaş said in a Twitter post that there would be a gradual increase in the bills after 10 cubic meters of use to prevent high consumption if it is accepted in the Municipal Council.
Istanbul, the country’s largest city with a population of around 16 million, also has been going through the most severe period of drought in recent years.
The Istanbul Municipality also had warned residents to use water more efficiently as water levels in the city’s dams decreased to 19.62 percent, less than half the rate in the same month last year.
It is estimated that Istanbul, which needs 2.8 million cubic meters of water per day according to the latest data announced by the Istanbul Water and Sewerage Administration (İSKİ), has 60 days of water supply left.
The reason for this sharp fall was the lack of rain in November and December, according to officials.
Speaking to Demirören News Agency (DHA), İhsan Çiçek, an academic from Ankara University, said that rainy weather would come after the second half of January, but it would not be at a promising level.
“Estimates show that rainy and cold weather will affect the country after the second half of January. But this will not be at a level that will cure our problem and increase the water level that has fallen below 20 percent of the dams,” Çiçek said, adding that drought is inevitable throughout 2020.
Attributing the increase in temperature to urbanization, Çiçek said that cities caused an increase in temperature more than global climate change.
“The increase in heat caused due to urbanization affects the temperature difference between the top and bottom of the air to expand,” Çiçek noted, pointing out that this change also caused precipitation change.
Meanwhile, Turkish media reported that farmers had been affected by the drought with a dramatic reduction in the grain harvest, namely in the central province of Konya, the northwestern province of Edirne, and İzmir.
Lack of rainfall in the past six months has triggered a drought alert for the Konya Plain, raising concerns over the future production of crops.
While 80 millimeters of rainfall fell on the plain in the July - December period last year, the amount of rainfall this year was 30 millimeters. Rain on the plain that occurred for two days in December also caused the cultivated crops to germinate.
Rıfat Kavuneker, chairman of the Karatay Chamber of Agriculture, stated that the Konya farmers would lose hope in agriculture if sufficient rainfall is not received.