Water ‘most strategic value’ of next century: Turkish president

Pressure on water resources has been rising every year, says Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Ali Murat Alhas and Burak Bir   | 21.10.2021
Water ‘most strategic value’ of next century: Turkish president Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends the 1st Water Council via live link at Vahdettin Mansion in Istanbul, Turkey on October 21, 2021. ( Murat Kula - Anadolu Agency )


Calling water the “most strategic value” of the next century, the Turkish president on Thursday said that pressure on water resources have been increasing every year.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was speaking at the first Water Council via video link.

Erdogan highlighted the importance of water resources in the future as well as Turkey’s approach and efforts in this regard.

"Protecting water resources before their depletion, using them efficiently and their proper management is now a must rather than a choice," he said.

According to the president, there are 90 ongoing projects in Turkey which would provide an additional 1.8 billion cubic meters of drinking water annually to 18 million people in the future.

Also, Erdogan said Turkey would adopt new measures to reduce the cost of energy for irrigation, adding new financing models would be developed for irrigation projects in the coming days.

Furthermore, the Turkish leader said new steps will be taken regarding the recycling of waste in line with the European Green Deal and that Ankara is going to accelerate its climate change adaptation activities by analyzing effects of climate change on water resources.

The president argued that the fight for domination over petroleum and fossil fuels back in the previous period would repeat itself for water resources in the future, given that the human population has drastically increased from 3 billion in 1960 to nearly 8 billion in today's world.

In addition, the freshwater resources have been declining due to rapid consumption and pollution, with the UN World Water Development Report foreseeing that some six billion people would not have access to sufficient clean water by 2050, the president said.

He said that water resources have been negatively affected by drought, floods and wildfires, adding that the agriculture sector, main source of food, consumes more than 70% of water.

He further said that Turkey, where annual precipitation was lower than that of the world average, was not rich in water and that climate change projections suggest that the amount of rainfall in Turkey would decline depending on the season.

Therefore, Erdogan said, his country needs to protect water and use it efficiently before water resources depleted completely.

In addition to efforts to provide water for people in Turkey with many projects, Ankara has also invested in water resources in Africa.

Ankara has also brought water to about 2 million people in Syria by drilling 512 wells in the region where Turkey has provided humanitarian aid and security.

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