Stories
04 Mar 2022
By: IOM Turkey

Half of the world’s population is already experiencing severe water scarcity at least one month a year. Water, sanitation, and hygiene have the potential to prevent at least 9 per cent of the world's disease burden and 6 per cent of all global deaths. According to some estimates, 2.2 billion people require access to safely managed drinking water, with 884 million people lacking basic drinking water services.

Access to safe drinking water is a fundamental human right, and it is the primary motivation behind the International Organization for Migration's (IOM) water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions. IOM-WASH programmes are designed to reach some of the most vulnerable populations, such as those affected by crises and living in remote areas with limited access to clean water. To contribute to the achievement of Goal 6 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Clean Water and Sanitation, the IOM Turkey WASH programme implements a wide range of projects ranging from drinking water supplies to sanitation systems, farming, industry, and ecosystems while contributing to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Climate change often leads to water shortages or floodings, affecting human health, well-being, and the economy. Water management is critical in preventing famine, epidemics, climate migration, inequalities, political instability, and natural disasters. Groundwater has an important role and place in sustaining the ecosystem and enabling the adaptation to climate change as it is the world’s largest freshwater resource. 

Şanlıurfa is a city in southeastern Turkey with over two million residents, out of which half a million are migrants. People there have been experiencing the effects of climate change on agriculture and animal husbandry due to drought. According to the studies of Şanlıurfa Metropolitan Municipality General Directorate of Water and Sewerage Administration that climate changes have greatly affected the groundwater in Şanlıurfa. Compared to previous years, the rate of the groundwater used in the city for watering and agricultural irrigation has decreased, adding on top of the misuse of water sources and climate change. To tackle these problems and mitigate the negative impact, IOM Turkey implements various projects jointly with the General Directorate of Şanlıurafa Water and Sewerage Administration.

Protection of the environment and the sustainable use of water resources are considered to be key elements of IOM’s WASH interventions. IOM Turkey supported water well purification projects by upgrading water networks with VSD inverter panels and chlorine through infrastructure interventions and providing items and products for water purification and treatment at the household or community levels.

The VDS inverters were used efficiently prioritizing high flow wells out of around 3000 wells across the province. The installed inverters are controlled remotely, reducing the risk of water cut-offs in the supported areas and ensuring the most efficient and correct use of water. The new panels prevented 40% of the wastage of the groundwater. A 10% energy saving was achieved for each well due to the automatic motors working according to the needs. A nearly 70% reduction was achieved from the savings on maintenance and repair costs. Since climate change does not only affect the groundwater amount but also its quality as well, IOM provided chlorination machines as well, which automatically adjust the optimum amount of chlorine to be added to the water to provide a healthy and quality drink.

More than 40,000 province residents benefitted from the project, with a quarter of them belonging to the migrant communities.

Water availability is becoming unpredictable. Droughts are worsening water scarcity in some areas, endangering human health and productivity, and threatening global sustainability and biodiversity. Assuring universal access to sustainable water and sanitation services is a key future climate change mitigation strategy. The WASH program of IOM Turkey continues to assist communities in cooperation with local authorities to achieve a more prosperous future for all.