Large cities across Turkey will run out of water in the next few months. Warnings Istanbul has less than 45 days of water left. According to the Turkish Chamber of Chemical Engineers, poor rainfall led to the country’s worst drought in ten years and almost tore the megacity of 17 million people out of the water. Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş said earlier this month that the capital had 110 more days of dams and reservoirs. İzmir and Bursa, Turkey’s next two largest cities, also have problems with dams being 36% and 24% full, respectively, and farmers in wheat-growing areas such as the Konya Plain and Edirne Province on the border with Greece and Bulgaria Warning before crop failure.

Turkey is a ”water-stressed” country as it produces only 1346 cubic metres of water per capita per year. The critically low rainfall in the second half of 2020 led farmers to warn of crop failure. Turkey has faced several droughts since the 1980s due to industrialisation, population growth and climate change. As per Istanbul Technical University academic Sevinç Asilhan, ”Turkey has a semi-arid climate due to its geographical location and said the country’s reduction in the number of forests and green areas has made the drought more severe.”

Water management expert at the Istanbul Policy Center Dr Akgün İlhan told the Guardian: ‘Instead of focusing on measures to keep water demand under control, Turkey insists on expanding its water supply through building more dams. ‘Turkey has built hundreds of dams in the last two decades. The warning signs have been there for decades but not much has been done in practice.’

Turkey has been criticised for prioritising economic growth and neglecting environmental concerns and remains the only G20 country besides the United States to ratify the 2015 Paris Agreement.