Water scarcity has become an increasingly important issue in Turkey as the country has been classified as a “water scarcity”. The growing population, urbanization and changing standard of living have exacerbated the problem.
Although these factors play a very important role in water scarcity, it should be remembered that only 2.4% of the blue areas are fresh water sources, said Professor Fatma Çevik, a member of the Faculty of Aquaculture at Çukurova University (ÇÜ). Çevik added that of this 2.4%, even less is available for consumption.
“Of this water, 87% is either ice or snow and 13% is in the form of water. Of the 13% liquid water, 95% is underground water, 3% is surface water such as lakes, rivers and streams, and 2% is soil moisture, “she said.
“The total amount of easily accessible fresh water is around 0.3%,” Çevik told the Ihlas news agency (IHA).
Çevik cited the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) report “Turkey‘s Water Risks” to highlight the scarcity of fresh water.
“If all of the water on earth were put in a five-liter (1.3-gallon) bottle, the amount of fresh water we humans could access would be just 1 tablespoon.”
Countries with water scarcity
Çevik said the future of Turkey‘s water problems looked bleak.
“According to forecasts for the year 2040, our country will be one of the nations that are classified as ‘quite high water scarcity’,” she warned.
“In fact, the use of water is not just the part that we use as water. For every product we use, water is consumed at every stage until it reaches us, ”added Çevik.
“The term we’ve heard a lot lately, ‘water footprint’, which is the measurement of the amount of fresh water required to produce a good or service across the supply chain, is an important term for us humans.” she noticed.
“According to a study by the Directorate-General for Water Management and WWF, 89% of the water footprint in our country, if you look at sectors, comes from (from) agriculture. And in agriculture, 80% of crop production is green water.”
“This means that rainfall in our country is essential for access to food and the economy of our country and that we will be severely affected by climate change.”
Old dog, new tricks
Çevik stated that water consumption in Turkey is very high in terms of consumption habits.
“We can see this better by looking at the water footprint of products,” she said.
“For example, it takes 11,000 liters of water to make 1 kilogram of cotton fabric and 2,700 liters of water to make a 250-gram T-shirt. When we think of our wardrobe, we see how intense our individual water consumption is, “she said.
“If we take examples from our kitchen: An average of 125 liters of water is required for a 150-gram apple, 200 liters for 1 kilogram of tomatoes, 290 liters for 1 kilogram of potatoes, and 350 liters for 1 kilogram of zucchini.”
“The same goes for food of animal origin. An average of 15,400 liters of water are required for 1 kilogram of beef, 4,300 liters for 1 kilogram of chicken and 1,200 liters for 1 liter of milk, ”she says.
“If you consider that a slice of bread – which we consume the most – needs 40 liters of water, 10 liters of water are necessary for 1 single A4 piece of paper, it becomes clear that we as humanity have to rethink our consumption habits.”
Çevik noted that a study of domestic water consumption found that toilets use the most water in households at 26.8%, followed by washing clothes at 21.7% and showering at 16.7%.
“The fact that the water in the basins that is used to clean the toilet is drinking water is also thought-provoking,” said Çevik.
“We shouldn’t forget that a single drop of water contains a world of life.”
Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Thursday that using water efficiently and protecting its sources are no longer optional.
At the opening of the Water Council, President Erdoğan addressed Turkey’s water problems.
“The pressure on water resources, the most strategically important asset of the century that awaits us, will increase every year. Protecting our water resources before they reach the limit of depletion, using them efficiently and managing them properly has become a necessity rather than a choice, ”he said.
Erdoğan pointed out the importance of using water wisely and not wastefully. “Tariffs are gradually being introduced with the aim of using water sparingly, and social and fair water tariffs that take low-income household groups into account.”