Cities in Turkey face severe water shortages amid a dry winter, with authorities warning that without rain, some municipalities could run out within months.
Water reservoirs supplying Istanbul have fallen to their lowest level in fifteen years, the mega-city municipality said this week, warning that the situation was dangerous.
Istanbul’s reservoirs have a capacity of less than 20% on average, according to the Istanbul Water and Sewerage Administration, up from nearly 40% at the same time last year and over 80% the year before. .
Turkey’s largest city, with a population of over 15 million, Istanbul consumes an average of three million cubic meters of water per day.
Even taking into account the reduced demand in winter, the water supply could run out within 45 days, according to the Turkish Chamber of Chemical Engineers.
Istanbul’s water administrators must immediately decide on at least one of the options, such as water cuts or even rain bombs, group leader Ali Ugurlu said in a statement this month, referring to the controversial technique of meteorological control of cloud seeding.
But the mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, called for patience and a conservative approach.
There is no emergency, but the risk persists, so I call on citizens to be more careful when using water, not to use it in excessive quantities, he said. declared last month.
In the capital, Ankaras dams also have a capacity of less than 20%, leaving the city with enough water for 110 days, Mayor Mansur Yavash said on January 5.
To encourage water conservation, authorities would start charging heavy consumers at a higher rate to encourage savings, he said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also called for conservation.
Now we are living through one of the driest periods. Some of our tanks are completely depleted, he told reporters on Monday.
Together we must act against the threat of drought, from household consumption to agricultural needs, ”he said, indicating that savings of up to 50 percent could be achieved in irrigation.
After the driest summer in seven years, authorities had hoped that a rainy winter would replenish water supplies, with some now blaming climate change for reducing rainfall.
But it’s too often used as a scapegoat, according to Professor Mikdat Kadioglu, a meteorological expert from Istanbul Technical University, who said at an event in Istanbul on Sunday that the city’s growing population was wasting time. water.
If it had a population corresponding to the volume of water it uses, Istanbul would not have a water problem, he said.
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