Turkey: More effective water management policies need to be adopted
As World Water Day is marked around the globe today, Turkish experts warn that if effective water management policies are not developed by the government as soon as possible, Turkey will struggle with a very serious water shortage in the future.
Water is indispensable not only for people, but also for all of nature. Although this natural resource is plentiful is some parts of the world, other areas are suffering from water problems. World Water Day is a day on which the effectiveness of the water policies being pursued by the world's countries and possible measures to be taken to prevent a global water shortage become popularly discussed topics. World Water Day was first designated as such in 1992 by the UN General Assembly to draw attention to the growing global problem of water scarcity. The observance aims to promote an awareness of the extent to which water resource development contributes to economic productivity and the well being of society.
Assessing the current situation in Turkey, experts point out that Turkey is actually a water-poor country even though it seems to be water-rich when compared to some of its neighbors in the Middle East.
Commenting on the issue, former Foreign Minister Yaşar Yakış told Today's Zaman that Turkey was formerly considered a water-rich country as it is located in a area in which many countries are suffering from a lack of water. “However, when we evaluate the figures, we come to the conclusion that Turkey is not rich at all in terms of water resources. The amount of water consumption per person is approximately 1,400 cubic meters per year in Turkey, but the per capita water amount in water-rich countries is approximately 18,000 cubic meters per year. In other words, Turkey is 10 times poorer than those water-rich countries. Water in Turkey is not equally dispersed throughout country. While the Eastern Black Sea region of Turkey suffers from floods, the Central Anatolia region and Southeastern Anatolia regions suffer from droughts. In order to be able to equally distribute water throughout country, Turkey needs huge new investments.”
Stating that Turkey has only recently begun to understand the importance of water, Yakış said Turkey does not have effective water management policies. “Although the other countries in the Middle East have many qualified water experts, Turkey does not. Turkey has recently started to attach importance to this issue, but its efforts are not sufficient. However much water you have, if you cannot manage its sources, you will inevitably have problems with it in the future. Therefore, Turkey needs to establish departments on water issues at Turkish universities to train domestic water experts as soon as possible,” Yakış noted.
‘Excessive water wastage critical problem in Turkey'
Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM) Water Research Program specialist Dr. Tuğba Evrim Maden, who spoke to Today's Zaman, pointed to the excessive water consumption in Turkey as a major problem. She stated: “Turkey has started to implement some effective policies in recent years, but they are not sufficient. Excessive use of water is a major problem in Turkey. Considering the fact that the population of Turkey is on the rise, new successful water management policies should be adopted. The awareness of people should be raised with new initiatives as most of the people living in Turkey consider water to be an everlasting natural resource, but it is not. People should be told about this fact. They should be taught how to use water effectively without using it unnecessarily.”
In the meantime, a report recently released by the Ministry of Forest and Water Affairs has revealed there is a water shortage in Turkey. The report, titled “Water Resources Development Working Group Report,” states that Turkey currently has an available water supply of 112 billion cubic meters and uses 39 percent of its water each year, adding that 32 billion cubic meters of water per year are used in irrigation, 7 billion cubic meters are consumed as drinking water and 5 billion cubic meters are used in industry.
Stating that Turkey is a country which suffers from a water shortage, the report says that the amount of water consumed per person is 1,519 cubic meters per year. The report further states: “According to the Turkish Statistics Institute [TurkStat], Turkey's population is expected to reach 100 million by 2030. Considering this potential population number, the amount of water expected to be consumed per person is estimated to be 1,120 cubic meters per year. Water resources should be used reasonably in order to prevent water shortages.”
İPEK ÜZÜM, İSTANBUL
|Source of information||Todays Zaman|
|Subject(s)||AGRICULTURE , DRINKING WATER AND SANITATION : COMMON PROCESSES OF PURIFICATION AND TREATMENT , ENERGY , FINANCE-ECONOMY , HYDRAULICS - HYDROLOGY , INDUSTRY , INFORMATION - COMPUTER SCIENCES , INFRASTRUCTURES , MEASUREMENTS AND INSTRUMENTATION , METHTODOLOGY - STATISTICS - DECISION AID , NATURAL MEDIUM , POLICY-WATER POLICY AND WATER MANAGEMENT , PREVENTION AND NUISANCES POLLUTION , RISKS AND CLIMATOLOGY , WATER DEMAND , WATER QUALITY|