Thursday, April 29, 2010

Turkish Farmers Learn How They Can Reduce Water Usage by 50%

Agricultural use accounts for 72 percent of total water consumption in Turkey. Photo courtesy: Jennifer Hattam

I have written many blogs in the past on the developing global water crisis. In the next decade or so, water will become the new gold - in fact, it is already being called "liquid gold" by some environmentalists. I've discussed "Sana'a, Yemen: The First Capital City to die of Thirst", "Indian Farmers Commit Suicide as Drought Continues", "Drought Pushes Kenyan Nomads to The Brink" and many others.

Now it would appear that the message is getting through. We must start conserving water now; or, there will not be enough to go around later.

Summer in Turkey is fast approaching, temperatures are rising; and, already talk has started about whether there was enough rain and snow over the winter to keep the city's water taps full this summer or will there be days when the taps are dry.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and ETİ Burçak (a cookie and cracker manufacturer) formed a partnership in 2008 that aims to educate Turkish people about the impending threat of climate change. The project’s first major initiative will promote modern, water-conserving irrigation methods in the Konya area in Central Anatolia and then expand gradually to other agricultural centers in Turkey.

Studies done by the WWF and ETİ Burçak prove that making these improvements to the irrigation in the Konya region alone could save enough water to meet Istanbul's needs for up to three years.

Beginning this month, they will begin training farmers in the fertile region of central Anatolia called Konya to use modern drip-irrigation methods that has the ability to reduce water consumption by 33% - 50%. That's impressive!

Turkey uses more water for agriculture than most other countries. Agricultural use in Turkey sucks up 72% of the nation's water compared to 18% in household consumption and 10% in industry. Less than 10% of the irrigable land in Turkey is outfitted with water-saving irrigation techniques. According to WWF: "unsustainable water use practices in agricultural production are linked with the drying of lakes and rivers, declines in underground water levels, and rising soil infertility from a build up in salinity."

Konya is already finding out the hard way about having to suffer the consequences of unsustainable water practices. Their water use far exceeds the supply causing lakes and groundwater to dry up; both quality and quantity of food produced in the region to decrease; and, good grazing lands to be increasingly riddled with sinkholes and are giving way to desertification. To make matters worse, Konya is a closed basin system. While this drainage basin retains water, it doesn't have any outflow trapping the water in there. Temperatures in the basin are expected to increase between 2 - 6 degrees by 2030.

Already pilot irrigation projects in Konya and other Turkish farming areas have achieved water-use reductions of up to 50% on thirsty crops such as sugar beet, cotton, and corn. After training farmers and other members of the agriculture industry in the Konya area, WWF and ETİ Burçak aim to expand the effort to the country's other agricultural centers. Banks have been supporting the project by giving credit at low interest rates to farmers who are willing to purchase water-saving irrigation equipment.

"The threats of climate change are constantly increasing, and its impact has already started; therefore, it is crucial for us to start acting now," WWF-Turkey CEO Akın Öngor said at a press conference announcing the initiative. "If modern irrigation methods are implemented, there is a potential in the Konya area alone to conserve up to three years' worth of Istanbul's annual water supply."

Via TreeHugger and Daily News & Economic Review


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your helpful Post, I hope you have a good day!. :)

Anonymous said...

how are you?

Definitely gonna recommend this post to a few friends

Anonymous said...

Good point, though sometimes it's hard to arrive to definite conclusions

Anonymous said...

how are you?

Awesome post, just want to say thanks for the share