İSKİ has prepared a 30-year drinking water and sewerage master plan that will prepare Istanbul, which is facing a drought crisis, for the future. İBB President Ekrem İmamoğlu reacted to the fact that the Melen Dam, which is expected to meet half of the city’s water needs in 2053, has still not been completed and said, “Melen has burned my heart. I claim that I am more upset than Mr. President. Because that money is our money,” he said.
Introducing the “İSKİ 2023-2053 Drinking Water and Sewerage Master Plan”, which includes short, medium and long-term policies that will ensure the sustainable execution of drinking water, wastewater and storm water services in Istanbul until 2053, the work of which started in 2018, It was held with the participation of İBB President Ekrem İmamoğlu. Speaking at the introductory meeting held at the İSKİ General Directorate, İmamoğlu said that it is also very important that the “İSKİ 2023-2053 Drinking Water and Sewerage Master Plan” is implemented in accordance with it and said, “If we do not stick to the plan, our Istanbul may face much bigger threats.”
“CITIZENS SHOULD ASK THE MANAGERS TO ACCOUNT”
Stating that 16 million Istanbulites should follow this process, İmamoğlu said, “Citizens should hold their managers accountable. And this city will evolve into a reliable time. The future of cities and countries can never be guaranteed unless they ask for account and forget some issues. If the rulers know that they will pay the price for their promises to the people, they cannot deceive the citizens. They cannot do wrong to the citizens. But unfortunately, these are done from time to time and the heavy costs are made to the citizens again,” he said.
MELEN REACTION: WE FACED A BAD BILL
İmamoğlu gave an example of the Melen Dam as one of the costs paid to the citizens. İmamoğlu said, “According to the master plan, the Melen Dam is defined as the source that will provide the water consumption of this city over 50 percent in 2053. The Melen Dam, which has heavy rainfall in terms of the basin where it is located, has come to this day with a step taken in 1989. This study has made a commitment that it will be opened in 2016, when the foundation was laid, by giving the date and time. In 2019, when I was a candidate for the IMM President, our esteemed President said in the squares, ‘We have solved the water problem of Istanbul until 2071’. Because he probably thought that the Melen Dam was over. But as soon as I took office, I asked for a briefing on the Melen Dam. Because I received some notices and determinations from some technical people. And unfortunately, we faced a bitter bill. I went to visit Melen. In fact, some measures were taken to prevent us from being admitted to Melen. When we left, we saw with regret that the Melen Dam, that gigantic dam, that will meet 50 percent of Istanbul’s water needs in 2053, and that dam that will meet the electricity needs, has been built. But his body could not be finished with very deep s and the water was in a state that could not be stored,” he said.
“I AM MORE AGAINST THAN THE PRESIDENT”
Imamoglu continued his reaction as follows:
“We are deeply saddened by Melen, whom we see in this way. I bet it burned me inside. I claim that I am more upset than Mr. President. Because that money is our money. If it’s over, we’ll be happy. Thank you, we express our satisfaction. However, look today, despite our calls regarding Melen since 2019, we do not have any information about the renovation and repair of that dam, nor do we have a clear answer regarding its next process. There is room for the language, hand and skill of politics. After that, there are places where the language, hand and practice of politics cannot be executed. That part is technical, scientific, and different aspects should be put into effect. A process in which social administration is integrated with the light of reason and science brings real democracy, real governance and common sense together with societies, and this creates a high level of satisfaction. In other words, while we have very valuable teachers here, I am not going to shout some technical and scientific cries about water from this podium.”
“İSTANBUL’S ACTIVE POPULATION EXCEEDED 18 MILLION”
Drawing attention to the population of Istanbul, İmamoğlu said that the master plan was made according to the official population of 16 million and the population target for 2053 was 21 million. Pointing out that the active population of Istanbul has exceeded 18 million, including refugees, asylum seekers and foreigners with permission, İmamoğlu noted that the population has reached 19 million with students coming from outside the city.
CHANNEL REACTION: IT CANNOT BE IN ISTANBUL’S FUTURE
Emphasizing that there is no problem of Kanal Istanbul in the master plan, İmamoğlu said, “There is no concept of Kanal Istanbul. Because it can’t be. The Sazlıdere Dam cannot be destroyed, considering how high the basic water requirement is on the European side. Kanal Istanbul is destroying the Sazlıdere Dam. A Canal Istanbul issue that upsets all water infrastructure, all water flood issues and all groundwater balances cannot be in the future of Istanbul. It shouldn’t be. Istanbul does not have such a need. In a place where the Sea of Marmara, one of the most sensitive and delicate seas of the world, is located, in Istanbul, in a geography where the Marmara Sea, the Bosphorus and the Black Sea are in balance with nature, there is no such thing as Kanal Istanbul. This is not a political issue. In that respect, if what we call a master plan is implemented, it will be very good for countries and cities. But for an ambition, to create a source of money, for a perspective that only and only worsens the future, which is completely beyond today’s needs, such daggers unfortunately threaten the future of Istanbul,” he said.
“WATER TARIFF CANNOT BE AN ISSUE”
Emphasizing that earthquake, transportation and water issues should be above politics, İmamoğlu said, “We cannot discuss the water tariff as a political issue in the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality embly. Water has a cost, an investment cost. You have to put it on top of them and produce a tariff. We do not want this; It was done in the past, let’s not collect billions of liras from the İSKİ budget and transfer it to the İBB budget. Let’s create a recipe that blocks them. But this is a technical calculation. It should be more strictly protected by law. They should be more insured,” he said.
“OUR CHILDREN BLESS US”
Pointing out that the biggest threat facing the world is the climate crisis, İmamoğlu said, “We should be able to look at this fundamental issue of the world in the name of humanity again and identify the supra-political issue as a supra-state issue, and we should take our feet accordingly, so to speak. In other words, our children will curse us in the future of this world where we try to live to the fullest and have difficulties. And beyond getting angry at us, they really ignore us. We are very responsible in that regard,” he said.
MELEN DAM CALL FROM İSKİ GENERAL MANAGER
İSKİ General Manager Dr. Şafak Başa drew attention to the drought crisis and said, “At this point, we expect the central administration to take concrete steps, especially regarding the Melen Dam. The completion of the Melen Dam, which we call the insurance of Istanbul, and its delivery to our administration as soon as possible is extremely important for the implementation of the master plan. Again, it is extremely important that the Sungurlu Dam started by being included in the investment program. We, as İSKİ, signed the protocol on this issue. It’s going to our Metropolitan Municipality Council this month. Karaca Village Dam is an important project that will eliminate the water shortage in Istanbul, especially on the European side, in the long term. At this point, our administration is ready to work and cooperate with the central administration,” he said.
21 POTENTIAL WATER RESOURCES REVIEWED, 7 FEATURED
Work on the master plan started in 2018. Istanbul’s population and water needs scenarios were studied according to the 2053 target year. Required water resources were determined according to high population growth and high water demand scenarios. 17 existing water resource facilities and 21 potential water resource facilities were examined and 7 water resources came to the fore. As a result, although it is seen that Istanbul does not need an additional water source in the event of the Melen Dam being built, the facilities to be built according to the scenarios of precipitation reduction that may occur due to the effects of climate change have been determined. Among the existing water distribution system elements, 149 potable water tanks, 157 potable water pumping stations, 2,847 km of potable water transmission lines were examined with hydraulic model support. As a result of the works, 91 drinking water tanks, 101 pump groups, 591 km drinking water transmission line were planned in order to ensure uninterrupted water supply and to transform the areas fed by the promotion into a gravity system.