Authorities in western Turkey have extended restrictions on water usage, with the region continuing to contend with a severe drought, the Gazete Duvar news website reported.
The restrictions in western Çanakkale province were initially implemented in March until the end of April, but the water level in the province’s only reservoir, the Atikhisar dam, has remained at 50 percent for months, prompting authorities to extend the measures.
Watering fields and gardens has been banned, despite the fact that 25,000 hectares of agricultural land depend on Atikhisar, which is also the province’s only drinking water supply.
Çanakkale Deputy Mayor Irfan Mutluay said their priority was ensuring there was sufficient drinking water; however, in the current situation there is not enough drinking water for even one year.
Mutluay emphasized that the situation was dire since all the lakes in the province had been affected by the drought, with some of them nearly dried up.
He urged the government to develop policies for the more effective use of water to ensure that farmers could also have access to water supplies for their yearly crops.
Climate experts have warned that droughts will be common Turkey as climate change has caused increasing heat in the Mediterranean region and the country will face water-supply crises.
Severe droughts have caused diminished groundwater levels, and poor water management policies have threatened the water supplies of major cities.
According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC), 60 percent of Turkey’s land area is prone to desertification.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is still focused on large-scale building construction, attracting foreign investment and economic growth at the expense of the environment, climate scientists say. Moreover, Turkey is one of six countries that has not yet ratified the 2015 Paris Agreement, which commits signatories to take steps to limit global warming.