with 20 percent of the country’s population ThraceIn , underground water resources fell below 150 meters. Experts warn that Thrace, which is a wheat and sunflower warehouse, which is among the strategic foods, may run out of water in a few years, drawing attention to water scarcity and food crisis and calling for an emergency action plan.
Stating that there will be risks that will affect the ecosystem deeply due to mega projects, Tekirdağ Namık Kemal University (NKU) Faculty of Agriculture Biosystem Engineering Department of Land and Water Resources Lecturer Prof. Dr. Halim Orta talked to journalist Serap Cömertoğlu about the current situation of water resources in Thrace, the impact of mega projects on water resources and the precautions to be taken.
Orta stated that the Thrace region, which constitutes 3 percent of the water assets in Turkey, is among the important regions in both agriculture and industry, while heavy industry activities in the region, population density, uncontrolled and unconscious water consumption cause depletion of water resources and drought. He said it also threatens food security.
While Turkey’s usable water resource is considered to be approximately 112 cubic kilometers (km³) per year, this amount is approximately 3.6 km³ for the Thrace region, of which 2.5 km³ is above ground, 0.7 km³ is from the Meriç river and 0.4 km. km³ is groundwater.
Orta stated that with the water potential in question, the amount of water per capita in Thrace is 650 cubic meters (m3) annually, and considering that the annual amount of water per capita in Turkey is approximately 1,500 m3, the water availability in the Thrace region is
noted its inadequacy.
UNDERGROUND WATER LEVEL LESS THAN 150 METERS
Expressing that there are many factors that threaten water assets such as dense population, industrial facilities and mines, Prof. Dr. Halim Orta stated that about three times of the total 0.4 million cubic meters of groundwater in the Ergene Basin is drawn by industrial facilities.
Orta stated that there is 0.4 billion cubic meters of water gain coming from Strandjas and Ganos, but the annual water used is estimated to be around 1.2 million cubic meters; “You have a salary of ten liras, but you spend 30 liras every month. For this reason, we draw our groundwater, which was drawn from 80 meters 20 years, 25 years ago, from 400-450 meters now.
The remaining water level below is less than 150 meters. We need to abandon the use of underground water immediately, and we need to turn to surface water resources, which we call surface water resources, which is 7 times more than this, and 2.8 billion cubic meters of water resources.
Emphasizing the need to prevent the entry of the industrial sector that uses water in Thrace, Orta said that apart from population density and industrial activities, mining activities also seriously affect water assets.
prof. Orta emphasized that there are many quarries and limestone quarries in Istrancalar, especially on the Saray-Vize line, and that the underground water potential of the Ergene Meriç Basin is threatening day by day and disrupting the water flow routes.
“WITH THE KANAL ISTANBUL PROJECT, SEA WATER WILL MIX WITH GROUND WATER”
On the other hand, Orta stated that the northern highway, energy transmission lines, blue flow, the planned thermal power plants and the nuclear power plant, and the airport project built on the water beds have deteriorated the water quality and shared the following: “With the said canal Istanbul project, the groundwater quality will deteriorate , sea water will allow it to mix into our bottom groundwater. Therefore, these mega projects will deeply affect the ecosystem, which the carrying capacity of Thrace cannot handle. Especially in the context of water resources
Reminding that according to the International Water Council, the Thrace Region is a region experiencing absolute water scarcity, Orta said that investments that use excessive water and pollute it should definitely be stopped in Thrace.
HEAVY METALS FOUND IN UNDERGROUND WATER SOURCES
Orta warned of the implementation of projects to develop surface resources in a way that would not disrupt the ecosystem; “90% of the water used in Thrace and the water used in settlements, cities and villages is provided by underground water resources. Only 10% of it consists of dams and ponds. This should be reversed. Heavy metals are now found in underground water resources. The way to get ahead is definitely good control. Especially Çerkezköy, Çorlu, Lüleburgaz quadrangle gives esois. This area is very
It is necessary to monitor more closely and take serious measures.”
LONGOZ FORESTS ARE IN DANGER FOR ISTANBUL’S WEEKLY WATER NEED
Pointing out that studies are being carried out to use the water needs of Istanbul from the Marmara basin, Orta shared that the Longoz forests are threatened in order to meet the water needs of Istanbul for only one week.
Orta emphasized that Thrace could be without water at any moment; “Thrace may run out of water in a few years. Nothing happens despite nature and nature will win the fight. If we cannot stop industrialization and environmental pollution, nature will. It will stop somehow with floods and drought. There will be no water. There will be migrations, people will migrate to places where they will find water. But if we do not come to ourselves and play an active role in this struggle, the victory of nature will be very dramatic. He will fight the nature with the loss of property and life, and it will create traumas on us.”
FOOD SAFETY UNDER THREAT
prof. Orta pointed out that food security is also under great threat. Noting that the prices of wheat, which is a strategic product, have increased globally, Orta informed that the wheat, which is 250 dollars in the world stock markets, has increased to 400-450 dollars a ton, and sunflower seeds, which are around 400-450 dollars, exceeded 800 dollars. Orta stated that it is not possible to import wheat and sunflower and mentioned that there must be production.
A NATIONAL Drought CENTER SHOULD BE ESTABLISHED
Stating that a National Drought Center should be established immediately to ensure food safety, Prof. Orta said: “There should be an interdisciplinary center and we need to develop scenarios and determine our strategies here. We need to develop drought-resistant animal and plant varieties, and to use water resources effectively by evaluating the effects of droughts on our life and our lives in detail.”