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You are here: Home / The European environment – state and outlook 2010 / Country assessments / Turkey / Freshwater - Why care? (Turkey)

Freshwater - Why care? (Turkey)

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Freshwater - Why care? (Turkey)
Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

In Turkey, the effective use of water resources and protection of those resources have become essential as a result of population increase, rapid urbanization and industrialization.

            Turkey is not an affluent country in terms of water resources and water resources are not distributed equally over the country. There are 25 river basins but only 4 of them correspond to the 37 per cent of the annual precipitation that means accessibility of water resources can not meet the demands on right time and right location. Turkey can not control its water resources because of the topographical irregularities. Moreover, Turkey is geologically very young and its rivers flow unsteadily. It is not possible to use water before carrying out necessary arrangements because of high mean basin slopes. Turkey should take precautions not to be a problematic country about water.

            The quality and the potential of water are critically significant for Turkey. For the accurate management of water resources, water quality and water quantity should be managed simultaneously.

            Because of climatic condition in Turkey, the precipitation-flow relationships which change seasonally also display considerable differences from year to year and natural water supply falls to minimum levels in the summer when the demand is maximum. Country’s water resources are very sensitive to drought conditions and drought is seen in every fifteen year period. In addition to irregular regime character, floods threaten natural life and create great hazards. Therefore, the periodic droughts necessitate the construction of dams to regulate water in one year or longer.

 The main reasons for the degradation of Turkey’s water quality are; excess use of natural resources on account of rapid industrialization and urbanization, domestic, industrial and agricultural activities.

            In Turkey lakes and dams are important for industrial, agricultural and drinking water supply. Domestic-Industrial waste water and fertilizers-pesticides negatively affect the quality of water of the lakes by causing the deterioration of the nitrogen-phosphorus balance in contrast to normal standards. Dam lakes are in a risk of being filled by the sediment transport.

            Rivers are important for drinking water supply, irrigation and fishery. The most important pollution factor of Turkey's rivers is the discharge of the domestic, industrial and agricultural wastewater to the rivers. In Turkey, there are still many highly polluted and bad looking rivers. Another reason for the pollution of rivers is erosion. As a result of the soil erosion, phosphorus with solid materials is moved from the agricultural area to the surface waters and this causes eutrophication. Population increase, urbanization, industrial activities, pesticide use and excess use of fertilizers are the other factors that increase river pollution rapidly.

            If in the coming years environmental problems and the pollution of surface water increase, the quality and quantity of groundwater will play an important role. The reasons of groundwater pollution are domestic and industrial wastes and pollutants related with agriculture.              

 

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The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.

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