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Joint World Water Day Event from EMU URDC and KTMMOB

A joint panel titled “Making Groundwater Visible” has been organized by the Eastern Mediterranean University Urban Research and Development Center (EMU URDC) and the Union of Chambers of Cyprus Turkish Engineers and Architects (KTMMOB) on the occasion of the 22 March, World Water Day. The panel held at 17:00 on Tuesday, 22 March, 2022, at the KTMMOB Meeting Hall, was moderated by EMU URDC Vice President Assist. Prof. Dr. Pınar Uluçay.

Şebnem Hoşkara

“2.2 Billion People Have No Access to Water”

The keynote speaker of the panel, EMU URDC President Prof. Dr. Şebnem Hoşkara pointed out that 22 March World Water Day aims to draw attention to the lack of access to clean and safe water and to emphasize the need for action to combat the global water crisis. Prof. Dr. Hoşkara emphasized that water is indispensable for the existence of all the living as well as ecosystems. Stating that although three quarters of the earth is covered with water, according to the United Nations data, the amount of usable water is 2.5 percent and the amount of potable water is less than 1 percent. Prof. Dr. Hoşkara said, “Today, 2.2 billion people do not have access to safe water. The inadequacy of water in terms of quality or quantity brings along sanitation and hygiene problems, which lead to many health problems in our cities and all other settlements.

Studies Will be Turned into a Book

Stating that one of the Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the United Nations in 2015 is clean water and sanitation, Prof. Dr. Hoşkara said “Until 2030, we have to ensure that everyone has access to safe and accessible drinking water and, we have to invest in infrastructure, build sanitary facilities and promote hygiene at all levels.” Pointing out that they believe that the water issue in Northern Cyprus should be handled with different components, from different perspectives and at the scientific and practical level, Prof. Dr. Hoşkara stated that they plan to prepare a final declaration on the water issue for Northern Cyprus after the panel, and then to turn the studies into a book.

Tunç Adanır

“Processes That Will Create Pollution Must Be Specified”

KTMMOB President Tunç Adanır, the keynote speaker of the panel, pointed out that Northern Cyprus has been dealing with the water problem for many years and said, “We live in a country that is impoverished in terms of both surface water and groundwater. By drawing our water from the wells fed by the annual precipitation; There is pollution due to the mixing rates of the surface waters that go back to the wells by polluting them with domestic, agricultural and industrial use. Adanır, who underlined the necessity of clearly setting out the conditions required for the realization of environmental or usage-oriented targets in order to implement the legal requirements and manage the groundwater in a sustainable way, said, “The steps to be taken without determining all the components that contribute to the formation of groundwater, natural or pollution processes will not achieve any success. It is quite difficult,”.

It Should Turn into a State Policy”

Pointing out that it is necessary to use rational and integrated practices for the formation of a sustainable groundwater management, Adanır said, “Besides the political decisions regarding this, it is essential to develop programs that will be short, medium and long-term government policy. It is important that these decisions do not change with every changing government and turn into long-term plans. Therefore, although we have a small-scale conservation planning in our country, we need to prevent long-term contamination of our groundwater. Water is a very valuable and very important problem for us in our country. I think we can solve this with these plans." 

Presentations Delivered

After the opening speeches, at 17:15, a presentation titled “Water-Sensitive Urban Planning” was made by Elda Istillozlu and Feriha Birinci from the Chamber of City Planners. At 17:30, Savaş Bağkur from the Chamber of Electrical Engineers made a presentation titled "Sustainability of Water Resources and Use of Intelligent Water Saving Systems in the TRNC", and Erkut Uluçam from the Chamber of Agricultural Engineers presented information on, "Agricultural Automation Project in Citrus". At 18:00, Prof. Dr. Şerife Gündüz from Final International University Environmental Research Center and Dr. Asuman Korukoğlu from the Cyprus Wetland Community made a presentation titled "Climate Security and Wetlands". At 18:30, Dr. Mehmet Necdet from the Chamber of Earth Science Engineers talked about "Sustainable Groundwater Management", and Assist. Prof. Dr. Hasan Zaifoğlu from the Chamber of Civil Engineers made a presentation titled “Climate Crisis and Flood Risk Management”. Finally, at 19:00, the panel came to an end with a closing ceremony after EMU URDC Executive Board Member Prof. Dr. Umut Türker's presentation titled "Analysis and Management of Transboundary Groundwater Aquifers".