Underground water reserves not enough for Istanbul: Expert

With an average daily water consumption of 3 million cubic meters, Istanbul has dams that are 70 percent full, but underground resources are still insufficient, warns an expert.

Professor Dr. İrfan Yolcubal of Istanbul Technical University explained that there are 25 water basins in Türkiye and that the Marmara Water Basin, which covers Istanbul, is considered "water poor" today.

"Underground resources are very important for Istanbul. In case of a disaster, such as the expected Marmara earthquake or a severe drought, we should consider underground water as a backup system. Therefore, we should not disturb the underground water reserves in the city and utilize them for urbanization and industrialization," he said.

Noting that water from the rain does not seep into the ground, Yolcubal said, "In urban areas, water should be collected through rooftop rainwater harvesting and used in areas such as garden irrigation. Illegal wells that drain underground should be prevented. Artificial pond areas should be created in cities. Water should be reclaimed and treated repeatedly for adequate infiltration."

Cüneyt Gerek, a former director of the State Hydraulic Works, said that underground water cannot be fed in Istanbul because of the increase in concrete structures due to urbanization.

"On average, 25 percent of precipitation should infiltrate underground. Unfortunately, the precipitation that meets concrete and asphalt on the surface has no chance to seep underground. We need to plan sponge cities to make maximum use of rainfall. A second alternative is underground dams," he concluded.

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