Istanbul reservoirs observe lowest water levels of decade

Water levels in Istanbul's dams have dipped to record lows over the past two weeks, with general occupancy rates dipping to half the November 2019 measurements. Meanwhile, drinking water levels have dipped to the lowest levels of the past decade.

Duvar English

The water level in Istanbul's dams has dipped to a concerning 24.4 percent over the course of the past two weeks, nearly half the amount of water contained in the reservoirs last November, daily Cumhuriyet reported on Dec. 4. 

While 45.27 percent of reservoirs were filled in November of 2019, seasonally low precipitation over the past two weeks has caused water levels to dip from 26.82 percent to 24.4 percent, hitting an annual low. 

Istanbul's drinking water reserves also observed the lowest level of the past decade in 2020, measuring a mere 208.79 million cubic meters on Dec. 3, a number that was placed at 310 million cubic meters on the same date last year. 

Istanbul can survive on its remaining water supply for another two and a half months if it receives no precipitation, Agriculture and Forestry Ministry said in an official statement. 

Meanwhile, Ankara's water level is a mere 12 percent, which the ministry said would be sufficient for more than four months, and 36 percent fullness in the Aegean province of İzmir will last them another five months.  

"About 60 percent of the water in our country's reserves are sourced from melted snow that comes in between March and June, so it's not right to infer a drought from today's water levels," the ministry noted. 

In efforts to encourage rationing of remaining reservoir capacity, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu shared a video depicting different ways Istanbulites could economize on water usage.

The mayor encouraged residents to turn off the water while brushing their teeth or shaving, to turn down water valves feeding into sinks, and to install taps that allow lower usage.