60 pct of land in Turkey suffers from water shortage, risks drought

Almost 60 percent of land in Turkey suffers from a shortage of water supply, and the upcoming decade risks severe drought, the daily Milliyet reported on July 14.

Duvar English

More than half of Turkey's land is suffering from a shortage of water supply and the next decade could bring about severe drought in the country, the daily Milliyet reported on July 14.

Turkey's water usage policies are incompatible with the reality of the supply, Boğaziçi University climate expert Prof. Murat Türkeş said, noting that a shortage is observed in the majority of the land outside of the northern and southern mountain ranges.

"Climate modeling shows that 60 percent of the land outside the Black Sea and [southern] Toros Mountain Ranges experience water shortage. It's obvious that we will experience a severe water crisis in the next 10 years," Türkeş said. 

The central province of Konya suffered from a severe lack of agricultural water supply, experts said, while Istanbul University Forestry Faculty's Prof. Doğanay Tolunay noted that drought has been ongoing since 2020.

Even a five percent drop in precipitation can trigger agricultural drought and the pollution of streams also risks severe droughts in farming in the near future, Tolunay said.

"Almost all water sources are significantly polluted. Farmers have been resorting to underground waters, but those are almost running out as well," Tolunay noted. 

Istanbul Technical University faculty member Prof. Levent Şaylan said that 12 million hectares of land is lost in Turkey annually as a result of droughts and desertification, and urged the government to employ dry farming methods.