Türkiye loses water in 20 basins in a decade

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Climate change, which affects temperatures and changes precipitation patterns, has dealt a severe blow to Türkiye’s basins, important resources of water for the water-stressed country. Figures by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry show that water levels in 20 out of 25 main basins decreased, while five others saw a rise in levels between 2013 and 2022.

The most dramatic drop was in lakes in Burdur and Gediz Basin, both in western Türkiye. In Burdur, water levels dropped to 5.9% in 2022, from 61% in 2013, while in Gediz Basin, the levels dropped from 76.6% in 2013 to 7.7% this year.

In the meantime, basins in the west and northeastern Black Sea region, which usually have a rainy climate, saw an increase in water levels. Yet, there was no water shortage that affected the general population although partial drops were reported in water supplied to dams. The ministry said additional water resources were deployed for cities including Istanbul, the capital Ankara, Izmir, Yalova and Kilis to prevent future shortages in drinking water due to potential drought.

As for irrigation, precipitation between October 2021 and April 2022 rose. The ministry said 418 reservoirs allocated for irrigation were doing fairly well, with sufficient water in 375 among them while the rest were partially filled.

Water going to waste is the primary concern for authorities in the country embattled with drought last year. Moreover, its prevention is expected to put back millions of Turkish liras into the economy. Türkiye spent $1.7 million (TL 25.6 million) in the past decade to rehabilitate and preserve 95 areas designated as wetlands, which amounts to more than 1.08 million hectares (2.67 million acres). With its own resources coupled with funds from international bodies, the country rehabilitates wetlands spoiled by the impact of climate change and alleviates the future effect of the climate crisis on these vital areas.

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