| PROF. DR. HÜSEYİN GÖKÇEKUŞ: “TRNC DRINKING WATER SUPPLY PROJECT WILL BE THE PROJECT OF THE CENTURY”
On March 1st 2012, ORSAM Water Research Program Specialist Dr. Tuğba Evrim Maden talked to Prof. Dr. Hüseyin Gökçekuş, Vice-Rector at Near East University and General Coordinator for Water in TRNC Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, on TRNC's water resources, water problems, the process of “TRNC Drinking Water Supply Project” which is an important project as a solution for TRNC's drinking water problem, and on the importance of the project for the East Mediterranean.
Could you introduce yourself in brief?
I was born on 23 December 1960 in Nicosia, Cyprus. I completed my elementary and secondary education in Cyprus. I graduated from the Department of Geological Engineering in the Faculty of Sciences at Ankara University in 1982. The same year, I started my M.Sc. Studies on hydrogeology at the Middle East Technical University (METU) under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Vedat Doyuran, and completed my studies after the submission of my M.Sc. thesis entitled “Hydrogeology of Western Konya Plain and Interpretation of Groundwater Level Fluctuation”. I started my academic career as a research assistant at Middle East Technical University on December 1983. I completed my Ph.D. Studies in the Department of Hydrogeology in 1990, following the preparation of my thesis paper on “Hydrogeological and Hydrogeochemical Evaluation of the Güzelyurt Groundwater Basin-TRNC” again under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Vedat Doyuran.
Following the completion of my Ph.D. studies, I left METU, where I had conducted my studies and worked as a research assistant for 7 years, and returned to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on December 1990. Since the completion of my military service on March 1992 (for 20 years now), I have been working as a lecturer at the Near East University (NEU). I have been working both as the Chairman of the Department of Civil Engineering and as the Vice Rector.
I have already published 80 articles that focus on water problems in particular, as well as the environment, earthquakes, tourism and education in the country: most of them being in English, and and also conducted the editorial position of many books. I have carried out over 120 presentations in various countries such as Turkey, the TRNC in particular, as well as in Southern Cyprus, Sweden, France, Greece, the United States of America, Italy, Austria, Morocco, Azerbaijan, the United Kingdom, Norway, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Russia and Brazil. Moreover, I have had over 50 interviews with both national and international press. And I have also had several articles published in both Turkish and English.
I was elected for membership of the Higher Education Planning, Evaluation, Accreditation and Coordination Council (YÖDAK) by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Assembly of the Republic on 25 October 2010, and appointed for 4 years as a council member on behalf of the National Parliament. Lastly, I was appointed as General Coordinator for Water by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources on December 26th 2011, to participate in relevant works related to bringing water from Turkey, to determine policies on water sector, to guide the design and formation of water management in our country, and to establish required communication in order to meet other goals related to the water sector. While I have been striving to give the final form to the “Water Management Law” along with all the shareholders in TRNC, specialists from Turkey and EU officials on water; on the other hand, I have been conducting Integrated Water Resources Management works by considering 75 million cubic meters of water to be carried from Turkey in 2014, and meanwhile, I have been working on establishing a new sustainable water policy in TRNC.
What is the water potential of the TRNC? How is the water richness of TRNC in terms of water quantity and quality per capita?
It is not possible to give a certain figure about the water potential of TRNC. Because there is no any healthy data. However, we can easily suggest that TRNC is country “poor in water”. Because we can easily say that the quantity of water per capita per year is way under 1000 cubic meters, despite the fact that we do not have certain figures. This is the quantity aspect of the issue. When examining the current water resources in TRNC in terms of the water quality as well, it cannot be said that the water quality of water both used as drinking water and also for irrigation is not the same in every region. Substantial salinization took place with the effect of sea-water intrusion especially depending on the extreme water drawdowns from the coastal aquifers. The other environmental factors impairing the quality of our current water resources can be listed as follows: (litters left on dry stream beds and pond areas especially during dry spells), cesspool wells on aquifer areas, artificial fertilizers largely used in agricultural areas, and chemicals used in agricultural protection. In addition to this, abundance of fusible minerals taking place in the geological formations plays role in increasing the hardness of water especially around the pond areas.
What are the water problems taking place in TRNC? Is it possible to briefly list the reasons of these problems?
We have been encountering both water shortage and water quality problem in our country because of drought in TRNC considerably taking place with the effect of climate change especially for the last 40 years, notable increase in population, environmental pollution and waste water as a result of the development of certain sectors, the pollution of current surface and ground waters which are already scarce due to the lack of infrastructure, over salinization of ground waters in coastal regions depending on extreme drawdowns, uncontrollable use of artificial fertilizers in agricultural areas, and large amount of pesticides used in agricultural protection.
When analyzing the precipitation and temperature values of the last 100 years in TRNC, it is observed that there has been a constant increase in temperature values almost for all months within a year. On the other hand, when examining the precipitation values of the last 96 years, we have been observing a decline at the rate of 25.9%. This situation shows that the current precipitation has decreased at the rate of one quarter for the last century. In addition to water shortage and water quality problem taking place in our country to a great extent, another problem as important as the others is the water management problem. In addition to both insufficiency and lack of quality of irrigation water used in agricultural areas and also the lack of quality and quantity of water provided as drinking-potable water, especially in recent years, not only makes water undrinkable, but also it makes it impossible to take a shower with quality water and also gives severe damage to dishwashers and washing machines we use for cleaning purpose at home. We cannot, either, say that we healthily manage our water resources, which we have been encountering major problems with in terms of quality and quantity with each passing day. In addition to lack of a serious water policy in the country, the lack of sustainable water management plan has also caused to an increasing rise of difference between water supply and demand equilibrium in time. To sum up, an understanding of water management far from integrated water resources management carried the water shortage and water quality problem in the country to the highest level.
The reasons of the water problem in TRNC are briefly listed as follows:
1- The fact that substantially, almost more than 70% of current water resources are uncontrollably used for agricultural purposes,
2- Persistence on growing crops with traditional methods instead of changing product range by insisting on wrong choice of product. Problems stemming from not fulfilling the principle of obtaining the maximum yield with minimum amount of water in most appropriate soil with our water resources already in shortage. As a result, we can suggest that, product quality and product productivity in agricultural products also decreased to a great extent depending on decrease in water quality, and besides, we can also assert that the profit margin is quite low or no profit is made at all depending on the rise in agricultural input cost; and rise in price of electricity used during water supply, and rise in prices of other product inputs,
3- Problems stemming from uncontrollable overconsumption of water by using drinking-potable water provided by municipalities for purposes other than drinking and domestic use such as, for instance, car wash, garden cleaning and garden irrigation; and on the other hand, problems stemming from the lack of infrastructure that will make it possible for these waters used at home to be recycled,
4- The fact that domestic waste water cannot be treated at a desired level and used sufficiently for other purposes across the country yet,
5- The fact that majority of the society are not fully aware of the current water problem across the country. In addition to the insufficiency of laws in effect, the weakness shown in lack of deterrent force or in enforcing law, when these laws are not respected. Besides, insufficiency in explaining the importance of water and that one day we can run out of water in case this valuable meta is not used economically, to large segments of society; in other words, lack of raising necessary awareness. The fact that duties of individuals and the state to be able to overcome this major problem cannot not explicitly stated. For example, on replacing current infrastructure in households with new instruments that allow using less amount of water and increasing economical use of water to a great extent; both lack of raising awareness of individuals who will make this change, and also the fact that the State does not provide individuals with additional opportunity (providing long-term and low-interest loans) to encourage people to take those steps,
6- While carrying on building new shafts (with state permits) to increase current salinity despite substantial salinization of coastal aquifers in face of extreme ground water drawdown brings salinization to the highest level; problems stemming from substantial decrease of current quantity of water in aquifers or aquifers' drying out from time to time because of the exigence to meet almost all needs from ground waters especially during long-term dry spells,
7- Besides major damages caused by floods taking place in 1-2 years of rainfall after the long term drought (even though a rare situation), problems stemming from the fact that this substantial amount of water cannot be sufficiently stored in surface during rainy winter months or stemming from the fact that waters rapidly flow into the sea as measures are not taken and scientific studies are not carried out in a way that will nourish underground,
8- Chaotic situation caused by lack of communication, coordination and cooperation among concerned shareholders on water management stemming from unfinished Contemporary Water Management Law which is still worked on,
9- Problems stemming from insufficiency of scientific studies required to be carried out in order to healthily detect water policies of the country for the future, and also stemming from the lack of correct data to support these studies,
10- Soil classification studies launched in the country to be able to determine the most appropriate areas to be engaged in irrigated farming were completed. Right now, studies for the selection of the most suitable plant species to be produced on soils, whose qualities are detected, have been conducted by considering the distribution of soils, whose classifications are completed, in TRNC and current water resources. Problems stemming from not beginning yet the market analysis studies planned to be handled at final stage. The market analysis studies should be jointly handled and evaluated during these days while still working on determination of plant species, not as the 3rd Stage. Otherwise, all studies and investments will go for nothing even in case the best product without any market that we cannot sell is obtained.
Can you briefly tell us about the water resources management in TRNC?
Water management problem comes first among the major water problems. Preparations of “Water Management Law” on the management of water resources in TRNC still continue. With the water management law to be introduced, many laws in force since the British colonial period (prepared in line with technologies and utilization strategies of that period) will be repealed and they will be gathered under aforesaid single law. Department of Mining and Geology deals with works on ground waters; while Water Department, on surface waters. The municipalities, on the other hand, are responsible for the distribution of water provided by Water Department. The district governor is responsible for the management of irrigation water, and is the Head of Regional Water Committee. Within the structure of Regional Water Committee is found Water Department, Department of Mining and Geology, Department of Agriculture and district governorate representative. What is underlined here is the issue on the harmonization of water management law, prepared meticulously, with “EU laws and directives on water”. We meticulously focus on this issue.
How is the distribution and quality of ground waters in TRNC? Are there any projects carried out on salinated aquifers as a result of salt-water intrusion?
On TRNC-Aquifer Map that our Department of Mining and Geology prepared, 11 aquifers draw the attention. These are listed respectively as follows: Güzelyurt (Morphou) Aquifer; Yeşilırmak Aquifer; the Beşparmak Mountains Karst Aquifers; Girne (Kyrenia) Coastal Aquifer; Karpaz Region Aquifers; Yeşilköy Aquifer; Yedikonuk-Büyükkonuk Aquifer; Dipkarpaz Aquifer; Akdeniz-Koruçam (Agia Irıni/Kormakiti) Aquifer; Orta (Central) Mesaroria Aquifer; East Mesaroroia Aquifer; and Southeastern Mesaroria Aquifer.
The aquifers in TRNC are generally composed of recrystallized dolomitic limestones with alluvial, calcarenite, calcareous sandstone, karstic characteristics; and of gypsum formations.
Güzelyurt Aquifer, which is the biggest aquifer of the island, is composed of units with alluvial characteristics. As a result of extreme water drawdowns depending on water need especially because of drought, there are kilometers of sea-water intrusion from coastline inwards throughout the stream beds on aquifer and composed of relatively loose material compared to the aquifer structure. We see that the conductivity values of samples taken from salinated shafts in alluvions, normally having conductivity value of 600-1200 ohm/cm, exceed 7000 ohm/cm.
The Beşparmak Mountains Aquifer, which is composed of karstic limestones and dolomitic limestones and which has the best quality waters, has the conductivity value of 500-880 ohm/cm.
Another aquifer needed to be focused on is gypsum aquifers, whose value of conductivity with the content of CaSO4 reach up to 9000 ohm/cm and which contain oversalinated and hard water with limited area of use.
The point which is needed to be highlighted about all aquifers is the fact that substantial declines have been recorded in ground water levels of all aquifers without any exception across the country resulting from insufficiency in replacing groundwater drawdown from underground with rainfalls as a result of drought taken place especially from early 1970's. In fact, certain small aquifers dry out from time to time in summer months.
Touching on the projects carried out for the improvement of salinated coastal aquifers, we can mention the Plateau Irrigation Project in Güzelyurt district, and partially the Güzelyurt Derivation Project. However, neither of the projects could be effective in the region because of the fact that the Güneşköy Pond planned to be built within the scope of Güzelyurt Derivation Project was not carried out, that waters derived from Lefke and Çamlıköy regulators carried out within the scope of project into the Güzelyurt Pond reached sea by overflowing in a short time as a result of the insufficiency of the pond capacity; and besides deficiencies and faults in implementation phase of the plateau irrigation project, on the contrary, these two projects led to increasing rise of salinization in the region in process of time.
What is the situation in the whole island in terms of water resources?
With its 9251 km2 area, Cyprus is the third largest island in Mediterranean; and Turkish population lives in the northern part of the island with 3355 km2 area. The length between the Island's east and west is 225 kilometers; and the distance between northern and southern regions is 96.5 kilometers. When analyzing the island in geological and geomorphological aspects, we see that it is generally composed of 3 parts. In the northern part of the island is found Girne Beşparmak Mountains in east-west direction, and in the south-west is located Trodos Mountains, and Mesaoria Plain is located in between the two mountain ranges. While in the South, Olympos Hill with 1951 meters in the summit of Trodos Mountains is the highest point of the island; Selvili Hill in Beşparmak Mountains is 1023 meters high.
As high hills and highlands are mainly located in South Cyprus, the districts rich in rainfalls, the south receive more rainfall in parallel with the topography. As a matter of fact, while the annual rainfall is 500-550 mm in very limited areas in Girne Beşparmak Mountains; almost the whole Trodos Mountains located in south receive precipitation around 500 mm and more, and these precipitation values go beyond 1000 mm in the mountaintop and these values can reach 1100 mm from time to time.
The majority of Mesaoria Plain, the region with minimum amount of precipitation, is situated in Turkish part. While the precipitation values in the whole aforesaid region range from 300 to 350 mm, less than 300 mm of precipitation falls almost in the whole north-west region of Nicosia and Güzelyurt district.
That being the case, 92% of water used for drinking-service, agricultural, industrial and purposes in TRNC are provided from ground waters, and 5% of the rest is provided from surface waters (ponds) and 3% from sea water after treatment. The studies show that the total amount of water used in TRNC is 100-110 million cubic meters, and while 30-35 million cubic meters of this amount is used for drinking irrigation purposes, 50-55 million cubic meters is used for irrigation, 10 million cubic meters is discharged into the sea through ground water flow.
The evaluation on South Cyprus was carried out in the light of a research conducted in 2000. Within this scope, 182.4 million cubic meters (69%) of water is used for agricultural purpose, 67.5 million cubic meters (25%) for drinking-service purposes, 3.5 million cubic meters (1%) of water for industrial purpose, and 12.5 million cubic meters (5%) for environmental purposes; thus, 265.9 million cubic meters of water in used in total. Again based on the same study, it is stated that 101.5 million cubic meters (38%) of total 265.9 million cubic meters of water used within 2000 is obtained from ponds; 127.4 million cubic meters (47.9%) from ground waters, 3.5 million cubic meters (1.3%) from springs, and 33.5 million cubic meters (12.6%) from sea water. In the light of these values, it is indicated that 82 million cubic meters (43%) of 182.4 million cubic meters of water used for agricultural purposes is obtained from ponds, and 100.4 million cubic meters (57%) from ground waters. Similarly, 14.5 million cubic meters (21.6%) of drinking-service water is used by treating water from ponds, 16 million cubic meters (23.1%) from ground waters, 3.5 million cubic meters (5.2%) from springs and 33.5 million cubic meters (50%) from sea water. It is suggested that the whole amount of 3.5 million cubic meters of water used for industrial purpose is provided from ground waters, 5 million cubic meters (42%) of water used for environmental purpose is obtained from ponds and 7.5 million cubic meters (58%) from ground waters.
This study carried out in 2000 also developed projections for 2005, 2010 and 2020; and it was stated that 182.4 million cubic meters, calculated to be the water need for agricultural purpose for year 2000, would be at the same level respectively for 2005, 2010 and 2020. On the other hand, it was foreseen that the need of 67.5 million cubic meters that is the amount of water used for drinking and service purposes in 2000 would increase up to 76.4 million cubic meters in 2005, 86.1 million cubic meters in 2010, and 104.3 million cubic meters in 2020. Here, these figures were estimated by considering the possible increases in amount of tourist besides the population growth. Similarly, while water used for industrial purposes is 3.5 million cubic meters; this figure was respectively foreseen to be 5,6 and 7 million cubic meters in 2020. Finally, the amount of water of 12.5 million cubic meters used for environmental purposes is predicted to respectively reach 14 million cubic meters, 16 million cubic meters and 20 million cubic meters.
As can be seen, while it is foreseen to keep constant the amount of water to be used for agricultural purpose in South Cyprus in the face of drought taking place in the Island; it is highlighted that a natural increase in amount of water to be used in all sectors except for agriculture is inevitable. As a matter of fact, the total amount of water need which is calculated to be 265.9 million cubic meters for the year 2000 is predicted to be 277.8 million cubic meters in 2005, 290.5 million cubic meters in 2010, and 313.7 million cubic meters in 2020.
Another point needed to be focused on is the fact that, when pond capacities are compared, the pond capacity in South Cyprus (approximately 330 million cubic meters) is ten times more than the pond capacity in TRNC (33 million cubic meters). Although the occupancy rates in both sides are beyond 80% as of this year, this rate can remain in 10-15% values during dry years. The water problem of the island in south reaches the highest level in such cases. Therefore, considering the current and future dry years, as well as the years the surface waters could be used at minimum level, solutions have been sought to increase alternative water resources since 1996-97. To this end, the sea-water treatment was focused on in the south, in the process of years. While the amount of treated water obtained from sea in 2000 was 33 million cubic meters, today the amount of treated water obtained from plants that can meet 50% of the water need of tourists in particular in south goes beyond 50 million cubic meters. And this situation comes to mean that sea-water treatment has been on increase at the rate of some 100% for the last 10 years in south. In recent years, domestic waste water was also started to used for agricultural purposes after treatment. And we believe that the solution for the current water problem in northern part of the island is the project that will supply TRNC with 75 million cubic meters of water to be transferred through the pipeline from Turkey.
What is the situation in Güzelyurt aquifer, the most important aquifer of the island?
As you have also indicated, Güzelyurt Aquifer is the largest aquifer of the Island with its area of 280 square kilometer, of which 180 square kilometers is situated in Turkish side, and of which 100 square kilometer is located in south. The 70-80 % of the TRNC agriculture is engaged in productive soils on Güzelyurt aquifer as the top quality soils (the fact that more than 50% of current soils is 1st and 2nd class soil) of TRNC in terms of agriculture is found in this district. Almost the total amount of water needed for these fertile soils, where every kind of agriculture is done, have been strived to be constantly provided from underground especially during dry spells. Besides, since 1950's, Nicosia and Famagusta have been provided with drinking water by building plenty of shafts in the region situated between Kumköy-Gaziveran, on Güzelyurt aquifer. In line with the water need caused by the widening agricultural fields over the years, water has been constantly drawn from the aquifer, and also the 24 hours non-stop operation of drinking water shafts has led to the decline of ground water levels in aquifer to -50 meters. Kilometers of salinization effect has been seen in the coastal part of the aquifer, as more amount of water is drawn than the amount of water which is drained into underground as a result of annual rainfalls. Despite the fact that electricity conductivity value from the current drinking water shafts reached 7000 ohm/cm, water is still pumped as it is needed.
Which projects have been produced for the solution of water problem in TRNC, so far?
- The number of ponds constructed for irrigation purpose and for nourishing ground water has reached 41.
- Even if incomplete, the Güzelyurt Derivation Channel Project has been partially constructed.
- The utilization of modern irrigation methods has been completed to a great extent (The rate of Citrus Irrigated Through Drip Irrigation Method reached 98%).
- The prices of drinking water were revised and more realistic prices were determined.
- The amount of water provided for consumers was redetermined in accordance with the realistic water quantity needed.
- Works on the renovation of water distribution networks and reduction of water loss in network were speeded up, and especially in recent years, various municipalities have renovated kilometers of water supply networks in their own districts.
- Due to the drought taking place during the driest spells, in long and dry summer months, it was strived to carry water from Turkey through balloons in late 1990's, but then this project was given up when the desired productivity was not obtained because of technical problems.
- Partial and regional solutions were sought by ignoring the requirement to solve the problem by handling water management and water problems in integration across the country, and accordingly, a project to eliminate salinization of shafts in the Plateau district, in a district close to the coastline on Güzelyurt Plain, was desired to be carried out; but the project failed. When the project was completed, the salinization in the region doubled/tripled instead of reduction.
On March 7th 2011, the foundations of Alaköprü Dam to be built on Dragon Stream, one of the most important pillars of the “TRNC Drinking Water Supply Project”, were laid. What is the importance of this project for East Mediterranean, world, and for TRNC in particular?
Yes. This mega project that we call “the project of the century”, the project of transferring water through the pipeline from Turkey, the project that will be the solution for the water problem taking place in TRNC has been realized step by step with the foundation laid 11 months ago. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has had the chance to realize this project, which has always been on the agenda of former governments of the Turkish Republic since 1960's. Turning back to 1960's, it has been 50 years since the statements of then-President Makarios, “I do not let the Island to be connected to Turkey even either through pipeline or through power line”. Incredible changes and transitions have taken place in our globalizing world. The current change and transition has been continuing with a dazzling and increasing acceleration. Yesterday's mentality strongly opposing to the connection of the island to Turkey even through pipeline, now buys electricity from TRNC as a result of the electric power shortage in South Cyprus following the power plant accident that took place not long ago, by turning 180 degrees. I believe that the ones who said yesterday that they would not engage in agriculture and ranch with Turkish water will be willing to use the water to be transferred through the pipeline from Turkey to the Island, when they see the quality and price of the water.
Yes, turning back to the project again; the first phase of the project is composed of the 23 kilometers long and 1,5 meters wide pipeline to be installed on territory from Alaköprü Dam with the capacity of 130,5 million cubic meters and 88 meters high, whose construction was started on Dragon Stream located in Anamur province of Mersin, and the Hydroelectric Power Plant (HES) with 32 megawatt installed power, and Pond to the Anamuryum equalizing tank on the coast. The 80 kilometers and 151 meters long sea passage of the project, the 3 kilometers long pipeline to be constructed in TRNC from sea through the Güzelyalı pump station on the coastline to the Geçitköy Dam, and the construction of 58 meters high Geçitköy Dam with the capacity of 26.5 million cubic meters composes the other two important phases of the project. What makes this project important in the eye of world; is the fact that such a long-distance transition with approximately 80 kilometers distance of sea transition is a first in the world, and the technology to be used during the aforesaid transition. Sea transition is passing a very special 1,6 meters wide polyethylene pipe hanging in 250 meters depth from sea level by tying the pipe with special ropes in each 500 meters to the sea bottom. Another point that should not be ignored here is the fact that throughout the pipeline between Turkey and Cyprus, the sea depth reaches 1434 meters. Tenders on the project phase to be carried out both in sea transition and in TRNC pillar will have been concluded by late February and early March. So that, these two important phases of the project will have been launched by spring months. 1.5 years are needed for sea transition, and two years are required for the project to be carried out in TRNC. All in all, the project carries on as planned to reach 2014 March goal that is planned for the completion of project. With the completion of the project, Turkey will gain prestige in the region, and she will assume the leadership role in similar projects as a result of the experience to be obtained. The reflection of the successful completion of the project will be seen as the elimination of water problem in a 50-year perspective.
2.38 cubic meters of water will flow in TRNC, which will enter in summer months of 2014 without water problem, per second through 1.6 meters wide pipes to be installed; and this means 75 million cubic meters of water in total per year. While this continuous water resource to be provided for TRNC will not only be supplied as drinking-service water, but the first half will be used for this purpose in the first phase, whereas the other half can be used for agricultural purpose. And what it means is 4824 hectares on its own, or 48240 decares, or in short, 36053 acreages additional agricultural area.
Following a simple treatment process, water to be stored in Geçitköy Pond that will be reached the capacity of 26.5 million cubic meters, its 36-37 million cubic meters will be used for drinking purpose per year. The distribution network of water, which will be used as drinking-service water, was planned in a way to cover the whole TRNC. To sum up, especially in the light of first studies, it is thought that water to be used for agricultural purpose will primarily be transferred to Güzelyurt District (not certain though) after the salinization status is examined, considering the fact that it will also provide the rehabilitation of aquifer. After the studies related to the subject take their final forms in the region, the cancellation of shafts salinated in the Güzelyurt District will allow direct use this water for agricultural purpose. If we still have water to use for agricultural purpose, the remaining water will be transferred over here beginning from the nearest districts to Geçitköy Dam that is the main resource, of course, by considering the results of soil test.
In conclusion, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) will have gained real freedom by crowning its political independence gained by Peace Operation on July 20th 1974, with its economic freedom to be gained thanks to this project that will be realized as of March 2014.
What will be the effect of TRNC Drinking Water Supply Project on Turkey's water policies?
Scientific findings put forward that global climate change will increasingly make its effects felt on water resources in certain regions of the world at more severe and negative dimensions, especially in the forthcoming decades. Considering the fact that tomorrow will not be better than today, especially the countries in our region will inevitably turn towards seeking new water resources in order to be able to meet their water needs. Due to the increasing importance of water which is the essential of life and the cornerstone of sustainable development in a very short period of time, and also due to the fact that water does not have an alternative replacement; it will be further traded among the world countries. Similar to oil and natural gas pipelines currently surrounding the world, the construction of water distribution networks to be built by the countries with water in order to provide water has become inevitable. In parallel with all these developments, soon afterwards, “water exchange” will naturally be created in Wall Street as oil, natural gas and gold prices. As everything that is important for world markets, “water” which is such an important meta that is this rare and valuable and as valuable as a life source is the candidate to be one of the most important combat elements among the global forces, maybe the most important one, in the forthcoming days. What is important is to achieve using current water resources in establishing friendship and peace instead of leading to chaos and war among the countries while struggling on its sharing, and to be able to achieve turning water into abundance and richness by equitably sharing it among the world populations in proportion to their needs. Otherwise, the heat of a war to break out anywhere on the world because of water would be enough to immediately set the world on fire. Once war breaks out, even if all the water covering three quarter of the planet is used, it will be insufficient to stop this war.
Following the successful completion of this project, a significant milestone will have been reached in “world's water transportation”. In our region, which has been encountering a severe water shortage; especially in Mediterranean Region, Turkey's supplying water for East Mediterranean countries, in which Gulf countries and middle east countries are also located, within the next 10 years to a considerable extent goes beyond imagination. And this situation comes to mean that the importance of Turkey, who has been taking firm steps forward on becoming a super power in the region, on the region and on the world a lot more.
The 21st century will be the century of countries that have water and can correctly manage water. The issue of water, which is said to be on table during the talks maintained for the solution of Cyprus problem, may be an important opportunity for the solution of Cyprus problem tha tcannot be solved maybe for 40 years. Why natural gas and oil to be drilled that Turkish Cypriots have the same right as the Greek where exploratory drilling works still continue in the northern part of the island is not distributed to the Port of Iskenderun through North Cyprus and then to Europe!
Why the second pipeline is not installed in South Cyprus going through water shortage as least as TRNC, following the construction of the first pipeline that will solve the problem of TRNC in the first place! Why third and fourth pipelines are not transferred to the Gulf and Middle East countries in the following years.
We know that Turkey is not a country which is rich in water. However, there are considerable amount of water, billions of cubic meters of water flowing from Turkey's south into the sea. As a matter of fact, considering the fact that the capacity of Dragon Stream which will provide only 75 million cubic meters of water per year is 750 million cubic meters, if Turkey likes, the number of pipelines that can be installed only from this river can be ten times more.
I hope that the project of the century that dreams come true, the project of transferring water through pipelines from Turkey to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus contributes a lot to Cyprus and the peace in the region.
* This interview was carried out by ORSAM Water Research Program Specialist Dr. Tuğba Evrim Maden in Ankara, on March 1st 2012.
** The map of TRNC Drinking Water Project is enclosed.