Water levels at dams providing water to Istanbul (population 15 million) have reached critically low levels after long periods of inadequate rainfall, according to new data by the Istanbul Water and Sewage Administration (ISKI) on November 15, 2019. This puts the city under threat of drought, with only 380 million cubic meters of water.
The data shows that Istanbul has water to last for around 100 days. Seven dams and other ponds feeding the city’s water pipes can carry a total of 868 million cubic meters.
Image credit: ISKI
According to meteorological engineering professor Sevinc Asilhan of the Istanbul Technical University (ITU), the drought was due to below-average rainfall from changing seasons and global warming.
“When we study Istanbul and Turkey’s general rainfall data, it is clear the city is receiving below-average rainfall annually. Drought is inevitable if the most important source in the natural water cycle is gone. The increasing population also amplifies the risk. If this downward trend holds, we expect severe droughts in Istanbul and other places across Turkey,” Asilhan explained.
If rainfall does not return to seasonal averages, Istanbul may see planned water cuts within six months, Asilhan warned. According to ISKI, Istanbul consumes 2.6 million liters of water per day.
Featured image credit: Anadolu Agency