General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works

Land-grabbers pillaging dried lakes, dams

Racketeers are exploiting legal loopholes to grab lands on lakes and around dams that are drying due to drought and leasing them out for commercial agricultural activities, daily Milliyet has reported.

Those lands, which emerge when water levels in lakes or dams recede, are very fertile but they normally belong to the General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works (DSİ).

Major Turkish Cities Face Severe Water Shortages

An aerial picture taken by a drone shows Guzelce aqueduct on the part of the Alibeykoy dam in Istanbul, Turkey, 10 December 2019. Photo: EPA-EFE/ERDEM SAHIN

The levels are at their lowest in 10 years, with reservoirs in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Bursa - Turkey's four biggest cities - only 24 per cent, 23 per cent, 36 per cent and 24 per cent full respectively.