“Possible Effects of Climate Change on Water Management in Istanbul”.

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The Conference on Global Climate Change, 6-7 September 2013.Yıldız Technical University Auditorium, Istanbul, İstanbul, Turkey, 9 June - 09 July 2013, pp.1-10

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: İstanbul
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-10
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes



Hüseyin Turoğlu

Department of Geography, Faculty of Letter, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey

Email: turogluh@istanbul.edu.tr




Current scientific research already provides detailed information on the effects and scope of global climate changes (IPPC, 2007; EPA, 2013). Changes in temperature and precipitation patterns are affecting Turkey and the consensus is that these effects will become more pronounced as time goes on (Önol and Semazzi, 2009; Önol et al., 2009; MEU, 2011; Tatlı and Türkeş, 2011; Vardar et al., 2011). Metropolitan areas and their surroundings are critically important in this context. The purpose of this study is to review the effects of global climate changes towards water management in Istanbul and it’s closer vicinity. Specifically in the context of natural and man-made geographical formations.  We have reviewed current geographical features, census data, existing and alternative water resources, Istanbul’s current and future water need, land use, construction projects that change the landscape, newly created impermeable grounds, precipitation and rain-runoff features. Additionally data from GIS (Geographic Information System) and RS (Remote Sensing) Technologies has been used.

The scientific community expects subtropical conditions to be more prominent in Turkey as time passes and  consequently weather patterns to change accordingly (Türkeş, 1998;  Türkeş, 1999;  Önol and Semazzi 2009; Önol et al., 2009;  Türkeş and Tatlı 2009;  Türkeş et al., 2009; MEU, 2011; Öztürk et al., 2011; Tatlı and Türkeş, 2011; Erlat and Türkeş, 2012; Erlat and Türkeş, 2013). Together with higher surface evaporation there is a high likelihood of climatic and hydrographic changes. The average rainfall will be less as well as heavy torrential showers replace steady rains, in turn  causing flood like water movement after each rain incident. Rain run-off patterns would be in the form of flash floods that have been already observed in recent years.

Currently Istanbul consumes about 2M m3 of water per day, which is mostly derived from rainfall captured in reservoirs (ISKI 2013). TUIK estimates that the population of Istanbul, and consequently the need for water, will continue to increase in the next 50 years. Urbanization will lead to less water sources, higher evaporation rates to higher losses of available resources creating immense pressure to create and maintain new sources.

Clearly water demand of Istanbul will continue to grow, water loss by evaporation will increase and natural water resources will weaken. Regular usable runoff will be transformed into flash floods and floods with a high likelihood of considerable material loss and even loss of life as a likely outcome. Urban transformation Projects in Istanbul could be an important opportunity on mitigation and protection against negative effects of expected climate change. We propose to approach this restructuring to include aspects of ‘physical planning’. Especially around the usage and movement of water in the urban area. This would allow for long term “Land Potential” and “Cost Benefit Analysis’s” of current urbanization projects. These long term projections for the next 20-30 and 50 years would then also cover expected change in population other socio-economic variables over that time frame.

Key Words: Istanbul, Climate Change, Water Management, Effects, Vulnerability and Mitigation.

Selected References

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Erlat, E. & Türkeş, M., (2013), “Observed changes and trends in numbers of summer and tropical days, and the 2010 hot summer in Turkey”. International Journal of Climatology. DOI: 10.1002/joc.3556

IPPC (2007) Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change. (Eds; Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor and H.L. Miller ). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

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TUİK (2013). Türkiye İstatistik Kurumu, Demografik İstatistikler.  http://www.tuik.gov.tr/Start.do [Date of accessibility: May 10, 2013].

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Türkeş, M., (1999), “Vulnerability of Turkey to desertification with respect to precipitation and aridity conditions”, Turkish Journal of Engineering and Environmental Sciences, Vol. 23, 363-380.

Türkeş, M. & Tatlı, H., (2009) “Use of the standardized precipitation index (SPI) and modified SPI for shaping the drought probabilities over Turkey”. International Journal of Climatology, Vol. 29, 2270–2282. DOI: 10.1002/joc.1862

Türkeş, M., Akgündüz, A. S., & Demirörs, Z., (2009b), “Drought periods and severity over the Konya Sub-region of the Central Anatolia Region according to the Palmer Drought Index. Coğrafi Bilimler Dergisi, Vol. 7, 129-144.

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