Turkey unveils action plan to fight drought

Faced with a growing risk of drought, Turkey is preparing an action plan to fight the problem, focusing mainly on economizing water.

Turkey unveils action plan to fight drought

"Under current scenarios, the Mediterranean region will be one of the worst affected by global warming, and Turkey is part of this region," Environment Minister Osman Pepe told a press conference yesterday attended by two of his colleagues, Energy Minister Hilmi Güler and Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker. The plan, which will be submitted to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoðan in the next few days and will be discussed at a Cabinet meeting next week, is urging nationwide efforts to combat drought. Pepe called on the Turks at the press conference to treat the matter with heightened sensitivity, TO use water more effectively and help the authorities in forestation campaigns. "The responsibility falls on everyone's shoulders," Pepe said. "Everyone has responsibilities." His suggestions were various: Use energy-saving refrigerators, washing machines and light bulbs at home, avoid operating half-filled washing machines, use solar energy more heavily for heating purposes, and don't leave water running while brushing your teeth. The measures to be proposed in the plan are expected to include the introduction of tight criteria for the use of water in farming and industry. Unlicensed wells are also expected to be tackled in the plan: "One of the most pressing issues is unlicensed wells," Pepe said.
The three ministers' joint press conference came after a discussion among them on effects of the global warming on Turkey, its repercussions on the environment, and agriculture and energy policies as well as risk of drought and water management. The ministers said there was an 8 percent decrease in precipitation between Oct. 1, 2006 and Feb. 1, 2007, as compared to the same period last year. But they dismissed the idea that there was an imminent risk of drought that would affect agriculture. "It would not be proper to talk about drought at the moment," Pepe told reporters.

Energy Minister Güler said there was no energy shortage and added that dams were sufficiently filled with water. "Turkey gets 50-55 percent of its rainfall in the March to May period. And we have positive expectations," he said. "If precipitation between March and May does not go below the average, we'll have no drop in overall crop production," Eker said.
The government is already under pressure to introduce far-reaching measures to improve the ailing state of environmental protection in the country, and experts say Turkey has to invest up to 35 billion euros in environmental projects in order to catch up with norms of the European Union, which Turkey aspires to join.
Pepe said Turkey would "inevitably" sign the United Nations' Kyoto Protocol, which cuts greenhouse gas emissions, in the course of its accession process to the EU but did not give a precise time. According to Pepe, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, which stood at 170 million tons in 1990, went up to 296 million tons in 2004.


Today's Zaman

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16