Minister urges water saving as Istanbul faces drought

Minister urges water saving as Istanbul faces drought

Minister urges water saving as Istanbul faces drought

The water levels in Istanbul’s reservoirs have dropped below 30 percent overall, their lowest level in 10 years. Minister Eroğlu says 'all measures have been taken' against water cuts. DHA photo

Istanbul faces a drought and lack of tap water during the summer of 2014, as precipitation was not as high as previous years and only 27 percent of the dams in Istanbul are full.

Forestry and Waterworks Minister Veysel Eroğlu called on the residents of Istanbul to be frugal with water usage in their homes during the 3rd International Istanbul Water Forum on May 27 in Istanbul’s Haliç Congress Center. “There is a drought in 2014 in Istanbul. The rainfall is 30 percent lower than the previous years, but we will overcome this,” Eroğlu told reporters on May 27.

The minister said they are making efforts to prevent any more water cuts in the city by carrying waters from the streams of the Melen and Istranca to the facilities in Istanbul’s Kağıthane district. He also said they will hold another meeting with Istanbul mayor Kadir Topbaş on June regarding the rain shortage.  
The water spent daily in the city is 2.6 million meter cubes, said Eroğlu, reiterating to conserve water when possible.

“It will be useful for our citizens to conserve water. Saving water is in our culture. Use the water without wasting it,” said Eroğlu giving some tips about the conserving water at home.

How to brush teeth

“Particularly young people should learn not to brush their teeth while the tap is not available,” he said. Eroğlu also said the Istanbul Waterworks Authority (İSKİ) is taking the necessary measures against
those who use tap water in pools, adding they can efficiently find out such incidents when they are reported. Eroğlu also said rainfall is expected next week.

“Rainfall will start as of Friday. We are working to prevent any more water cuts. In the past, Istanbul would have been short of water under these circumstances, but we have mostly prevented this and will continue to work on this,” Eroğlu added.

Eroğlu’s remarks came as the water levels in Istanbul’s reservoirs dropped below 30 percent overall as feared before, the lowest level in 10 years, according to data from İSKİ.

A year ago in May, 88.5 percent of dams were full in Istanbul, according to İSKİ’s data. This rate fell to 82.6 percent in June 2013 and 64.3 percent in July 2013.

On December 2013, the overall water rate in the dams was 34.7 percent. The previous lowest levels of water were seen in 2008, when 40 percent of the dams were full. Water scarcity is likely to be more this year, as the water levels are already lower than the 2008 summer. İSKİ general manager Akif Özkaldı confirmed the water scarcity. “There is drought this year. We have water for around 100 days right now,” he said.

The lack of the expected snowfall in the winter and also the rainfall shortages during the spring did not contribute to increasing these rates.

Experts have been warning that the lack of rain and snowfall in January and February could cause a significant water shortage in the summer if precautionary measures are not immediately implemented.