Istanbul may run out of water in 45 days due to severe drought

WION Web Team
Istanbul, Turkey Published: Jan 14, 2021, 07.07 AM(IST)

Istanbul drought Photograph:( Agencies )

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Sprawling underdevelopment and poor rainfall are being blamed for putting Istanbul, the megacity of 17 million people close to running out water

Istanbul may run out of water in 45 days with Turkey facing the worst drought in 10 years with dams drying across the country.

Sprawling underdevelopment and poor rainfall are being blamed for putting Istanbul, the megacity of 17 million people close to running out water.

Earlier, Ankara's mayor Mansur Yavas had confirmed that city's Omerli dam had only 110 days worth of water left in its reservoir, the lowest in last 15 years.

Meanwhile, Turkey's next two biggest cities, Izmir and Bursa are also struggling with their dam capacity being depleted to 36 and 24 per cent respectively.

Turkey is a ''water-stressed'' country as it produces only 1346 cubic metres of water per capita per year. The critically low rainfall in the second half of 2020 led farmers to warn of crop failure.

Turkey has faced several droughts since the 1980s due to industrialisation, population growth and climate change.

As per Istanbul Technical University academic Sevinç Asilhan, ''Turkey has a semi-arid climate due to its geographical location and said the country's reduction in the number of forests and green areas has made the drought more severe.''

Dr Akgün İlhan, a water management expert at the Istanbul Policy Center said: “Instead of focusing on measures to keep water demand under control, Turkey insists on expanding its water supply through building more dams … Turkey has built hundreds of dams in the last two decades.”

“The warning signs have been there for decades but not much has been done in practice.”

Turkey has been criticised for prioritising economic growth and neglecting environmental concerns and remains the only G20 country besides the United States to ratify the 2015 Paris Agreement.

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