Global warming and climate change, which we know is threatening the majestic cedars of Lebanon, is now having a serious effect on water resources in Turkey.
The situation is getting so bad that is really hard to believe that Turkey is the same country that only a short time ago offered to sell water to neighboring countries, especially to Israel.
Now it looks like this Aisa Minor republic may one day not have enough to satisfy it’s own increasing needs; not only for it’s industrial and agricultural sectors, but to it’s population as well.
Tourism ads once promoted Turkey as a country with a lush topography, full of fresh water lakes, and free flowing streams and rivers.
Many of its lakes, including ones like Lake Tuz (now almost a salt water marsh) and Lake Ulubat are either at dangerously low levels or are becoming polluted.
Turkey underwent a major program a few years back to build a series of dams and pumping stations on sections of the Euphrates River, from which other countries like Syria and Iraq also depend upon for fresh water.
The plan had been approved in order to ensure more available water for agricultural use, and by the time it reaches, let alone Iraq, the once mighty Euphrates is not more than a stream.
Not only humans have depended on these lakes and river, but numerous fish and animal species, including millions of migrating waterfowl that pass through Turkey annually on their way north or south.
Lake Ulubat, located in northwestern Turkey near the Straits of Marmara, has been a favorite stop over place for waterfowl for years. It has not only shrunk in size, but has become seriously polluted by both sewage and industrial waste.
Associate Professor Feza Karaer from Uludağ University’s department of Environmental Engineering was quoted as saying that the lake is in serious danger due to these factors “and is not the size it was during the 1980’s and ’90s.”
It’s not yet certain if the Turkish government is planning to build desalination plants to augment its fresh water needs. But with it’s long shorelines (it borders on three major bodies of salt water: the Black, Adrian , and Mediterranean seas) the construction of a number of desalination facilities is definitely worth considering.
And since Turkey has to share its water resources with neighboring countries, regional cooperation with other countries to build such plants might be a good idea too. It can only be hoped that efforts not being made to conserve and improver Turkey’s fresh water sources are not too little – too late.
[image via kiwanc. Above picture is image of young boy, a water carrier from Istanbul, Turkey.)]