Turkey’s water shortage is ‘history,’ says forestry minister
AFYONKARAHİSARTurkish provinces will not suffer from water shortages until 2071, Turkish Forestry and Waterworks Minister Veysel Eroğlu has told reporters, claiming to have “buried [water shortages] in history” and calling on citizens to use water “generously.”
“All dams are 60 to 69 percent full, there are no problems,” Eroğlu said during a press conference following a closed-door meeting on May 8 at the municipal council in the western province of Afyon. The minister said resources were being administered effectively and the authorities had back-up plans in case of crises.
“There are no problems in Istanbul, [its dams are] 85 percent full right now,” Eroğlu said, dismissing a reporter’s question on the possibility of a water shortage this year. “They [the citizens] should not fear, they can use water generously,” he added.
In a recent press conference on May 6, the minister said his team had “buried water shortages in the depths of history,” saying a total of 88 drinking water dams were 59 percent full.
“Some 108 dams built for energy are 69 percent full, whereas a total 227 irrigation dams are 67 percent full. Thank God there are no problems; we have buried [water shortages] in history,” he stated.
115 informatics projects active
Eroğlu also informed reporters about the new technologies introduced to the ministry due to “his interest in technology.” Accordingly, a total of 115 new informatics projects were adopted in recent years in order to supervise investments, work processes and their administration.
“I am proud to say that we currently have the best technologies and best programs and geographic information systems. I can show where we have a dam and its height,” he said.
Eroğlu underlined the importance of monitoring projects in achieving punctuality.
“We were building the Geçitköy dam in Turkish Cyprus. We put a meter there, which allowed me to see how many days, hours and minutes were left for it to be completed. I used to give a warning when progress was slow, which is why the dam was built right on time,” he said.
Small lakes, dams, settlements, transportation, forests and planting works could all be monitored in the same manner, the minister said.
Turkey ‘top seven’ in weather forecasting
The minister also praised Turkey’s progress in the field of weather forecasting, claiming the country was one of the world’s “seven best” with its 1,450 automatic weather stations.
“I am saddened that some do not believe in a ministry which knows Turkey by heart and which has 1,450 automatic weather stations but believe in the report by an employee in an institution - which I will not name - even though he is not even a specialist,” he said.
The minister had recently slammed a report by a NASA employee, alleging the agency’s technology was “inadequate” compared to Turkish studies of weather forecasts. The March report claimed the recent drought in the Levant region, which includes Turkey, from 1998 to 2012, was drier than the worst drought in the past 900 years.
NASA responded to the minister’s remarks by saying it was not involved in forecasting weather, which falls under the responsibility of the U.S.’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).