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Turkey is experiencing its most severe drought in a decade after critically low rainfall over the past six months. Istanbul has less than 45 days of water remaining. Ankara, the country’s capital has 110. Other cities also face limited water and depleted dams, and farmers are concerned about crop failure. As The Guardian reports, water supply has been an issue there for decades, exacerbated by population growth and climate change. Instead of managing demand, the country built hundreds of dams, at a huge cost to the surrounding environment.
Why this Matters: Things are so bad, the imams are telling their worshipers to pray for rain. As Dr Akgün İlhan, a water management expert at the Istanbul Policy Center, explained to The Guardian, if people can’t make a living farming, there could be a rise in poverty and in people moving to cities for work, further stressing the urban water supply and making the situation more unstable. “Turkey does have the economic and technological means to fix its damaged water cycle,” İlhan said. “The missing element is the political will to take these steps.”
The Damage of Dams
Turkey, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is the only G20 country besides the US that hasn’t signed on to the Paris Agreement. Turkey has a track record of prioritizing development projects over environmental needs, which is now putting Turkish people at risk. Just last year, Turkey completed a massive dam project: the Ilisu Dam turned nearly 90 miles of the Tigris River into a reservoir. The project, which the government touted as a cleaner source of energy, displaced 80,000 people, flooded an ancient archeological site, and harmed species living in the river.
“To disturb or change the natural process of the river is also criminal,” Zeynep Ahunbay, a conservation architect, told the New York Times. “You lose the beauty, you lose history, you lose nature. You are a loser all the time.”
As California’s drought conditions are worsening, Nestle is pumping millions of gallons of water from the San Bernardino forest. State water officials have drafted a cease-and-desist order to force the company to stop overpumping from Strawberry Creek, which provides drinking water for about 750,000 people.
The ice-out date for Maine’s Lake Auburn is now three weeks earlier than it was two centuries ago, the Portland Press Herald reports, and other lakes across New England show similar trends. Climate change is not good for ice, and that includes Maine’s lakes that freeze over every winter.
Why This Matters: A disrupted winter with lakes that “defrost” earlier has multiple knock-on effects for freshwater: in addition to harming fish in lakes, the resulting large cyanobacteria algae blooms that form can be harmful to human health.
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Drought conditions cover 85% of Mexico as lakes and reservoirs dry up across the country. Mexico City is experiencing its worst drought in 30 years, and the reservoirs and aquifers are so depleted that some residents don’t have tap water. The capital city relies on water pumped in from […]
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