Turkey faces water crisis during dry winter

The reservoirs in Istanbul have a capacity of less than 20 percent, the lowest level in 15 years - Anadolu
Turkish cities face severe water shortages in a dry winter. Authorities warn that some communities could go out without rain within months.
The water reservoirs that supply Istanbul have fallen to their lowest level in fifteen years, the megacity community said this week, warning that the situation is "dangerous".
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According to the Istanbul Water and Sewerage Administration, Istanbul's reservoirs have an average capacity of less than 20 percent, compared to almost 40 percent last year and over 80 percent last year.
Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey with over 15 million inhabitants, uses an average of three million cubic meters of water every day.
Even if demand declined in winter, the water supply could dry up within 45 days, according to the Turkish Chamber of Chemical Engineers.
"Istanbul water administrators must decide immediately on at least one of the options, such as water cuts or even rainbombs," said group leader Ali Ugurlu in a statement earlier this month, citing the controversial weather control of the cloud seeds.
However, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu has urged patience and a conservative approach.
"There is no emergency but the risk remains. So I urge citizens to be more careful with water and not to use it in excessive amounts," he said last month.
In the capital, the Ankara dams are also less than 20 percent full, so the city has enough water for 110 days, Mayor Mansur Yavash said on January 5.
To encourage water conservation, authorities would start charging bulk consumers a higher rate to encourage savings, he said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also pushed for preservation.
“Now we are experiencing one of the driest periods. Some of our reservoirs are completely exhausted, ”he told reporters on Monday.
"Together we must tackle the threat of drought, from household consumption to agricultural needs," he said, advising savings of up to 50 percent on irrigation.
After the driest summer in seven years, authorities had hoped a wet winter would replenish water supplies, and some now blame climate change for less rainfall.
But that's too often used as a scapegoat, according to Professor Mikdat Kadioglu, a meteorology expert from Istanbul Technical University, who told an event in Istanbul on Sunday that the city's growing population is wasteful of water.
"If it had a population equal to the volume of water used, Istanbul would not have a water problem," he said.

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