Impacts of climate change on Turkey's special water resources


APEC Climate Symposium 2018, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 21 - 23 August 2018, vol.1, no.1, pp.1

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 1
  • City: Port Moresby
  • Country: Papua New Guinea
  • Page Numbers: pp.1


Impacts of climate change on Turkey's special water resources

Prof. Dr. Nüket SİVRİ

İstanbul University-Cerrahpaşa, Engineering Faculty, Environmental Engineering Department, 34320, Avcılar Campus, İstanbul, TURKEY

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Being one of the most important key elements influencing social health, wellbeing, preservation of ecosystem, and the economic development of a country, water is a natural, yet limited resource. Population growth, industrialization and urbanization in the 20th century have resulted in a substantial increase in water consumption. While the world’s population has grown three fold, water use has increased six fold during the same period. Due to “Global warming effects” and its adverse impact on climate many countries of the world will be facing serious shortages on this limited resource.

Contrary to the general perception, Turkey is not a country rich in water resources; neither the richest country of the region, in this respect. Furthermore, given its growing population, rapid urbanization and industrialization; it is anticipated to become a water-stressed country by 2030. Most of the country is situated in a semi-arid region. The available water per capita per year in Turkey is about 1/5 of the water-rich countries.

The climate of Turkey is semi-arid with extremities in temperature. Climate and precipitation figures exhibit great variance throughout the country. Average annual precipitation is 643 mm, ranging from 250 mm in the south-eastern part of the country, to over 3000 mm in the north-eastern Black Sea coastal area. This average annual precipitation figure for Turkey corresponds to an average of 501 billion m3 of water per year and 274 billion m3 is assumed to evaporate from surface and transpire through plants.

But country’s water resources are very sensitive to drought conditions and drought is seen in every fifteen year period which means annual water yield decreases to one third of annual average value of long period. Beside irregular regime character; flood events, which are threatening natural life and other activities, are creating great hazards. As in other countries in the world, irrigation also has a great share in water consumption. To counter this consumption, in Turkey, there is a great deal of effort in adopting and exercising an integrated approach to water resources management.

There are several public institutions and organizations in Turkey working on the development of land and water resources of 25 river basins. Duties and working areas of each of these institutions are determined by laws. The most efficient solution for overcoming existing problems in order to allow natural occurrence of water cycle, well-designed and “Basin Management Plan” is implemented in our country for planning, managing and preserving water on a basin wide scale.

For these purposes, various projects have been developed in agricultural irrigation, environment and water management in Turkey so far. For an example, to minimize water loss through distribution networks, to use water more conservatively during the operation and to increase irrigation efficiency, modern irrigation methods such as, sprinkler or drip irrigation are established.