Istanbul staring at water crisis

Istanbul, Jan 23 (IANS): Turkey's largest and most well known city of Istanbul is confronted with a serious threat of drought with water reserve now being sufficient for only 100 days due to lack of rain and snow, a senior water expert has revealed.

"Having only 100 days of water reserve means that very tight measures should be taken,"Xinhua quoted Tugba Maden, a water expert in the Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies, as telling over phone.

With a population of 14 million, Istanbul tries to obtain the city's needs of water from 10 dams built in the Marmara and the Black Sea regions. Water levels in these dams have been decreased to the lowest point in six years with 35 percent in total. Three dams have already run short of water.

Istanbul's dams have capacity of holding 868 million cubic metres of water. Currently the water reserve is around 300 million cubic metres. Most seriously, the Melen streamlet has reduced its water reserve to 35 per cent of the total, sending the alarm signals.

Melen streamlet, located in the Black Sea province of Sakarya, provides Istanbul with 676,000 cubic metres of water a day via Omerli dam.

If the condition deteriorates, the authorities should begin transporting water to Istanbul from different water basins, said Maden.

Turkey's Forestry and Water Minister Veysel Eroglu tried to calm down the public, saying: "It is true that drought threats Istanbul in 2014. But we are taking all the necessary preconditions."

"We will build a new dam in Melen, which will bring a release to Istanbul people."

The minister also announced that two other giant dams would be built in Agva, 100 km from Istanbul at the Black Sea coast.

The concerns related with the water shortage is not only limited with Istanbul. Experts foresee serious threat of drought in overall Turkey in general.