TEMA presents bill to regulate water rights, use and management

May 25, 2012, Friday/ 18:21:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

The Turkish Foundation for Reforestation, Protection of Natural Habitats and Combating Soil Erosion (TEMA) has announced its draft water act, stating that regulations for water rights, use and management should be given a high priority on the political agenda.

TEMA officials indicated at a press conference on Thursday that water is not a resource but a natural asset; all living beings are entitled access to water, and water cannot be managed along economic lines as are other resources.

“As we get hungry, the world gets thirsty,” TEMA officials said at the press conference, which was also attended by TEMA General Manager Serdar Sarıgül. TEMA, established in 1992, advocates for the lawmaking process regarding water to be fully participatory and completely transparent. They feel the main goal of water-related legislation should be to conserve and develop water assets while recognizing access to water as a basic human right.

The officials also said TEMA is concerned about the project to build a third bridge over Bosporus because it could do irreversible damage to the last drainage basins of metropolitan İstanbul.

Additional, they indicated that the ecological and social impacts of big dams, inter-basin water transfer projects and other mega infrastructure projects should be reevaluated with a holistic approach and solutions should aim to fix the causes of the problems, not the symptoms.

Noting that water is scarce in Turkey, as per capita water consumption is only about 3,500 cubic meters per year, there is not a single framework law in place with regards to water management even though there are about 40 regulations in that same regard.

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