06.Dec .2022 12:30

Turkiye mobilizes for efficient water use amid climate change woes

Turkiye mobilizes for efficient water use amid climate change woes
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The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry announced last week the launch of the “National Water Efficiency Mobilization” campaign, in a bid to curb future concerns over the precious resource. The campaign was introduced at an event in the capital Ankara.

Sustainability is essential for Türkiye's water resources as the country is located in the Mediterranean region, which feels the impact of global climate change more, and is listed among the countries at "high risk" from the fallout of the global phenomenon.

Projections show water resources will decrease by about 25% until the next century and authorities say planning and efficiently using water in the country with a semi-arid climate are crucial.

Türkiye took several steps in the past decade, including starting to manage water at its source in 2011 at river deltas and implementing plans against drought as well as separate action plans for water management in each sector that requires high water use, from industry to agriculture.

Within the scope of the new campaign, the ministry will organize workshops, education campaigns and other events to raise awareness about the issue and encourage the public to adopt “a culture of efficient use of water.” It will also provide guidelines for each sector for technical support on the issue.

Losses in the country’s water grid are a major issue in terms of efficient water use. Currently, water losses are at a level of around 33.5% and the ministry aims to decrease the figure to around 25% at least. Losses refer to poor maintenance of water pipelines that results in leakage. The ministry also seeks to improve the efficiency of agricultural water use, from 49% to 75%.

Local administrations have the primary responsibility to cut the losses as a regulation implemented in 2014 requires them to decrease it to a certain rate, based on the population a municipality serves to. The ministry’s water management authority provides technical support to municipalities to achieve these goals.

Ministry projections show that water use from freshwater resources can be decreased to 25% with clean production technologies in industries and by implementing efficiency techniques.

Addressing an event held in the capital Ankara on Monday focused on water losses, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Vahit Kirişçi said municipalities should pursue serious efforts to prevent losses and reiterated the ministry’s readiness to support them.

The minister said Türkiye is not a country that is rich in water resources, noting that only 58 billion cubic meters of its freshwater can be properly used on a yearly basis when it has the potential to access 112 billion cubic meters yearly. “We cannot increase the amount of water so it is important to efficiently use the water and maintain water management,” he said. He added that the stored amount of water reached above 183 billion cubic meters and new dams and other projects contributed to the increase.

“Local administrations are major actors for efficient use of water. We need to act swiftly to decrease water losses. We can use water for irrigation so we can cultivate crops but this is not the case for drinkable water. It entirely goes to waste. We need to recycle it. The municipalities should play the main role for recycling, especially in large residential complexes, newly constructed buildings,” he said.

Water going to waste is the primary concern for authorities in the country embattled by drought last year. Moreover, its prevention is expected to put back millions of Turkish liras into the economy. Türkiye spent $1.7 million (TL 25.6 million) in the past decade to rehabilitate and preserve 95 areas designated as wetlands, which amounts to more than 1.08 million hectares (2.67 million acres). With its resources coupled with funds from international bodies, the country rehabilitates wetlands spoiled by the impact of climate change and alleviates the future effect of the climate crisis on these vital areas, Daily Sabah reports.