Drought in Turkey

While recovering from the damages caused by recent disasters, many regions of Turkey are experiencing exceptional drought. Drought can be defined as conditions with below-average precipitation. This also implies a “water deficit” based on the average water availability in a specific location and season. It can persist for days, months, or even years. In the central part of Turkey, there are serious concerns about drought due to the depletion of groundwater resources and low precipitation rates.

If the precipitation patterns continue to deviate from seasonal norms, it will lead to an undeniable situation. This situation will result in the drying up of water basins, lakes, and reservoirs, which are important sources of drinking water and agricultural land. The drought, characterized by rainfall deficiency, will contribute to crop failures, soil erosion, and land subsidence. 

Drought Data

According to the drought map of the General Directorate of Meteorology (MGM), drought is experienced in various regions of Turkey. In fact, there has been a drastic decrease in precipitation, making it the hottest December in the past 52 years. Additionally, according to the monthly report by MGM, the rainfall in January 2023 was 33.2 mm, which is below the normal level. The report highlighted that precipitation levels were below normal in all regions, with the largest decrease of 74% in Southeastern Anatolia.

The absence of snow and rain throughout the winter has further worsened the situation. In many regions of Turkey, dam levels have dropped below the critical level. They reached a risky state and continued to decrease. Thus, this severe drought has been categorized as an “emergency” in many cities. According to international studies, Turkey is classified among the countries with the highest risk of drought by the year 2040 because the available water resources have decreased by 10% in the past two years.


Indeed, this disaster has begun to create negative impacts in various areas. For instance, the early-stage drought continues in the Anatolian Plateau, which is the country’s main winter wheat production area. The drought in tropical regions has also significantly increased the risk of wildfires that may follow. Furthermore, high temperatures can exacerbate the conditions by causing rapid evaporation of water, further intensifying the effects. If these conditions persist, fruit and vegetable production will undoubtedly be adversely affected.
In addition to significant impacts on the ecosystems and agriculture of affected regions, drought can also harm the local economy. This situation can have serious consequences for Turkey’s economy, agriculture, and society as a whole. Therefore, it is crucial to establish a program to prevent economic speculation arising from supply-demand effects caused by drought and to create necessary stockpiles of goods.

Time to take action !

Experts emphasize the need for urgent measures to address this issue and reduce water consumption to prevent a more severe water crisis in the future. We know that the expected rainfall in the coming months is of vital importance, and it is necessary for precipitation to return to normal levels to reduce the risk of drought. If Turkey does not find a solution to water consumption soon, it will face an increasingly arid future.

So, there are tasks to do !

  • The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry can initiate crisis management practices in the drought-affected regions to minimize the negative effects and ensure the safety of the local population and continuity of agricultural activities
  • During drought periods, water harvesting techniques can help conserve water in the soil.
  • To combat agricultural drought, training programs can help farmers enhance the effectiveness of irrigation.
  • The use of modern and climate-friendly irrigation techniques can be promoted and encouraged.
  • Increasing the water-holding capacity of reservoirs and dams with storage facilities across the country.
  • Installing flow meters in all groundwater wells for drinking, domestic, industrial, and agricultural purposes to monitor water usage.
  • Considering soil quality, land capability, and other land characteristics in land-use practices.

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