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Colorado School of Mines (2019)

Sustainable Water Management and Planning for the Akarçay River Basin, Turkey

Genc, Mihriban.

Titre : Sustainable Water Management and Planning for the Akarçay River Basin, Turkey

Auteur : Genc, Mihriban.

Université de soutenance  : Colorado School of Mines

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2019

Water underpins the survival of the ecosystem and of human civilization, which exists within a certain delicate balance. Water is especially crucial to the economic development of developing countries that happen to have limited water supplies. The state of Turkey once called Asia Minor for its large size, has relatively more freshwater supplies than most countries in the Middle East. However, the interior of Turkey, in which the Akarçay Basin is located is water scarce. The Akarçay River Basin, one of 25 rives basins in Turkey, is located in a semi-arid region of the country. It has several towns and villages as well as a thriving agricultural sector, in addition to some manufacturing, mining, and tourism. The basin has two large lakes around which lots of fruits and vegetables are grown for local consumption and for exporting to the rest of Turkey. The hydrological pressures in this basin have been mounting due to physical water scarcity, elevated water needs of the domestic and agricultural sectors, rising frequency of droughts, and declining water quality due to high levels of pollution. Despite the agricultural importance of the Akarçay Basin, there is a dearth of studies in water resources planning and management. This thesis seeks to assess the status of water management in the Akarçay Basin and to develop policy options for sustainable management of water resources in this important region. The research also analyzes institutional and planning frameworks of how river basins have been managed in Turkey and examines actors and institutions, historical experiences, and geographic contexts of two basins in developed countries, the Colorado River Basin in North America and the Murray-Darling Basin in Australia, as well as water challenges in two developing countries, namely Iran, and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. This multiple case study approach is useful in understanding successful water management practices that can provide insights for decision-makers in the Akarçay Basin.

The thesis finds that over the last few decades, water resources in the Akarçay Basin have been managed unsustainably. This is mostly due to poor governance and government indecision in finalizing a modern comprehensive water law. Furthermore, it finds that the basin has a complex water management system where responsibilities are not well-defined. That is to say ; numerous institutions have overlapping responsibilities that often do not coordinate with one another. In addition, climate change is projected to affect the availability of water supplies in the basin adversely. Finally, the thesis proposes a few policy recommendations for how to sustainably manage water supplies in the basin.


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