Türkiye to be water-poor country, warns expert
Gamze Şener - ISTANBUL
In the next 20 years, Türkiye will move out of the list of the “water-stressed” countries and join the group of nations classified as “water-poor” countries, according to the Turkish Water Institute (SUEN), a member of the World Water Council continuing its activities under the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry.
“According to the State Hydraulic Works [DSİ] data, the annual usable water amount per capita in Türkiye is 1,346 m3,” said Tuğba Evrim Maden, an expert from SUEN, reiterating that Türkiye is a water-stressed country.
“Based on the data of the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK), the population of Türkiye will reach 100 million in 2023, and the annual amount of water per capita will have fallen below 1000 m3. According to these numbers, Türkiye will be classified as a water-poor country in the next 20 years,” Maden said.
With the effects of rapid population growth and climate change, there has been a serious decrease in the amount of water per capita, which is the measurement tool of water richness, according to Maden.
However, the need for water in Turkey continues to increase due to climate change and other factors, Maden added.
“This year, the way water resources are used or affected in the conflicts will attract attention, especially in the Russia-Ukraine war,” the expert said, reminding that the use of water resources as a weapon or target in conflicts has been on the agenda in recent years.
Subjects such as the treatment and reuse of wastewater and water used in agriculture, cloud seeding, the treatment of seawater and brackish water, the use of alternative water resources such as rain harvesting and the development of technology will be on the agenda, according to Maden.
“It’s necessary to create awareness in all sectors and users that water is not an endless resource,” the expert added.
“The efficient use of water should be prioritized in order to adopt modern irrigation techniques that will save water in the agricultural sector, where water is consumed the most, and to obtain higher quality and more products.”
Threats to children have increased due to the gradual depletion of drinking water resources, and risks have intensified with climate change, according to the latest data released by UNICEF.
“It is estimated that 600 million children will live in areas with extremely limited water resources by 2040,” the experts said.
“Every day, 800 children under the age of 5 die due to insufficient water and poor hygiene conditions, while women and girls all over the world spend a total of 200 million hours carrying water to their homes.”
Thirty-three countries will face extremely high water stress in 2040, the World Resources Institute said.
According to the experts, 14 of the 33 likely most water-stressed countries in 2040 are in the Middle East, including nine considered extremely highly stressed with a score of 5.0 out of 5.0: Bahrain, Kuwait, Palestine, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Lebanon.