7 Questions 7 Answers / How Close Is The Water Drought To Istanbul?
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The danger is great... If the pandemic were not at the forefront, the agenda would be 'Istanbul and drought'. So will there be cuts? What dates seem risky? What can consumers do? The most authoritative name on the subject, ISKI General Manager Raif Mermutlu told.
1- The dams in Istanbul are in ’more critical condition than they were 26 years ago’ in terms of occupancy. What's the situation now?
The occupancy rate of our dams in Istanbul is 20.70% as of December 29, 2020. The current amount of water is about 180 million cubic meters.
Looking at data from the last 27 years, the lowest occupancy rate as of December 29 is 2020. Looking at past years, we see that the occupancy rate today was 23.69% in 1994, 27.81% in 1995, 26% in 2007, 32.96% in 2008, and 34% in 2019. The most important factor here is rainfall. Along with the fact that precipitation is observed in seasonal norms, the occupancy rate in the dams is rising rapidly.
2- If the expected rains in the Spring do not come, what kind of scenario awaits Istanbul in the summer?
Istanbul is fed by surface water sources. Some of the water that Istanbul needs daily is met from Istanbul dams and some from water sources outside the dams. These sources are: regulators located in Melen, Yeşilçay and Strandjalar.
Depending on the season, daily amounts of water ranging from 500 thousand to 2 million 900 thousand cubic meters can be obtained from water sources outside the dams. At the moment, we see that the seasons have shifted somewhat, we have entered a rainy season. January March February, especially below the seasonal normals, but from March, we expect a period of precipitation above the seasonal normals. That's the information we got from meteorology.
We do not anticipate any water shortages for 2021 and 2022 if rainfall remains at seasonal levels. Even if rainfall is below seasonal norms, ISKI takes all kinds of measures and works with great care on different methods of solutions against possible drought.
At this point, we expect the people of Istanbul to support us and consume our water consciously without wasting it. Today, when no source is unlimited, it is possible to use our water much more consciously with simple methods. As ISKI, we also do awareness-raising activities on this issue. In addition, we started our perlator distributions, which save about 66% of water, starting with our subscribers who use 30 cubic meters and more water per month. We also distribute it free of charge to Istanbulites.
3- November October 3-2021 you have pointed out as a risky date. By risk, do you mean cuts?
October – November 2021, we do not have any water shortage when we consider the amount of water available in our sources providing water to Istanbul, the amount of water that can be obtained from other sources and the amount of precipitation that comes even in the driest season.
We do not foresee any water shortages for 2021 and 2022 if rainfall remains at seasonal levels.
But as ISKI, we carry out all kinds of work with great care, thinking about all the possibilities. Any water outage in Istanbul is not on the agenda.
As part of our work, we also continue a number of additional works, such as the commissioning of a new pumping station that will provide 700 thousand cubic meters of water per day from the Melen River for additional water supply to Istanbul, the commissioning of new wells that will provide additional water supply in the Terkos region.
The most important source for water supply to Istanbul is the Melen dam, which alone is capable of meeting Istanbul's 1-year water consumption. It is expected that the repair of the Melen dam, whose construction is maintained by the General Directorate of State Water Affairs, will be provided as soon as possible and delivered to Iski.
Where does Istanbul's water problem go? Can Melen be a cure?Where does Istanbul's water problem go? Can Melen be a cure?
4- Considering the climate crisis and the expectation of constant increase in drought, what kind of picture is waiting for Istanbul in 10 years?
Istanbul in 2053 will need the necessary water, wastewater and stormwater services for the preparation of all necessary technical and economic measures planned for them, “Istanbul water and wastewater master plan,” we have been working.
In addition, the Big Melen project is a very important project at the point of water supply to Istanbul. Melen dam, which is the final stage of the project, is a project that will increase Istanbul's water efficiency by 2 times with a yield of 1 billion 77 million cubic meters.
The planning and construction of dams in all cities is carried out by the General Directorate of State Water Affairs. The planning process for additional new dams on the European and Anatolian sides of Istanbul is also ongoing.
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5- Does Kanal affect Istanbul water basins and deepen the existing water problem?
With the implementation of the Canal Istanbul Project, a significant part of the existing infrastructure and treatment facilities will be disabled, and new investment needs will arise in order to replace these facilities and meet the drinking water and wastewater infrastructure services of new settlements.
In this context, the total cost for the 4 dams 2.5 billion, 2.2 billion for drinking water lines, water treatment plants for drinking and waste water Total 6 1 4.5 billion, 2.3 billion for wastewater lines, for 6.2 billion acquisition costs of these facilities, the channel resistance in order to assure that will exceed 1.6 billion for a total of approximately 20 billion Turkish lira is calculated.
As a result, part of the water resources that should be protected by ISKI in accordance with the Istanbul Canal Environmental Order plan 2560 will be canceled, the water supply of Iski will be reduced. Instead of these water sources, it is necessary to quickly create new ones. The sustainability of Terkos Dam and groundwater resources will be compromised, transmission lines, waste water collectors, network lines, treatment plants will disappear or lose their function, and the infrastructure services under Iski's responsibility will be negatively affected. It is necessary and mandatory for all these facilities to be planned and built before the construction of the canal begins.
Channel Istanbul sharing from Imamoglu: if it is done, our city will lose 29% of its water resources. if it is done, our city will lose 29% of its water resources.
6- Is the fact that people are more at home during the quarantine period a factor that increases consumption?
Annual water consumption in Istanbul increases by 3-5% every year due to population growth. In the pandemic conditions we are in, the need to comply with hygiene more than ever has increased water consumption somewhat.
Because of the pandemic, spending more time in homes increases the rate of water use slightly in housing, but reduces consumption in these areas due to the presence of fewer people in workplaces. Here it should be noted that water, which is the most important substance for hygiene, is consciously consumed without waste.
7- What should be done for savings on the consumer side without entering a‘dangerous’ period, do you plan to make a broader communication on this issue?
We advise all of Istanbul to protect our existing resources very well. In order to support saving, we have prepared a dual apparatus (perletor). Thanks to this small apparatus, we can save a large amount of water. Our subscribers will see their water consumption drop by about 66% when they plug it into their taps. In this way, we will save water and the bills for housing will fall.
We know the amount of residential housing consumption throughout Istanbul. In some pilot areas, we will gift these devices to homes with high consumption. In the first place, we will start this application, which we aim to spread, from houses with a monthly use of 30 cubic meters and above. I think we will get a significant result from this apparatus.
It is possible to use our water much more efficiently without wasting it with simple methods that we will pay attention to in our daily lives. From car washing to personal hygiene, we can protect a significant amount of water every day by preventing waste.
These methods can be sorted as follows ;
- You can start your dishwasher when it's full. When washing a full dishwasher dish with 12 liters of water, you spend an average of 100 liters of water if you hand wash it. Using a machine, you save an average of 40 tons of water a year.
- Washing machines consume 176 liters of water per wash. If you start your machine after it is completely full, you will save 9 tons of water per year.
- Instead of washing vegetables and fruits under running water, you can wash them in a container. Otherwise, you spend 18 tons of water a year unnecessarily.
- You can shorten your shower time. Reducing this time by 1 minute means saving 5 tons of water per year.
- When showering or other times when we turn on the hot water tap, we can use valve structures that return the first cold water back to the system. If this system does not exist, we can accumulate cold water and use it to water plants.
- Brushing your teeth, washing your hands and face while not leaving the water flowing is one of the golden rules of saving. In this way, you save up to 15 to 35 liters of water per day.
- Using a bucket instead of a hose when washing your car means that you prevent the waste of exactly 40 liters of water every time.
- You can water your garden after sunset. In this way, the water will reach the plants without evaporation.
- Internal installations should also be checked for water leaks.
- Faucet faucets and shower heads can be replaced with products that allow pressure water to flow.
- By reducing the water inlet valve under the sink, the water flow rate can be reduced.