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News Turkey: Water levels still low in basins despite heavy rains

According to the Turkish State Meteorological Service, water levels remain low in 24 out of Turkey's 25 drainage basins despite heavy rains in May.

After a dry winter, Turkey is struggling with drought. The agency's latest report said that although 17 out of 25 basins in Turkey saw above-average rainfall last month, it wasn't enough to allay rising concerns.

Rainfall in the other eight basins was lower than historical averages. The drought was most severe in the Küçük Menderes basin in the Aegean region, with rainfall dropping 53.6 percent year on year. The Asi, Seyhan, Ceyhan and East Mediterranean basins followed Küçük Menderes as the hardest hit.

The only region which saw rising rainfall was the Aegean, with an 11 percent increase over last year.

Hayati Çelenk, Aegean regional manager at the meteorological service, said that people living in the area shouldn't be worried about a water shortage but should still be careful about conserving water.

[ARABAŞLIK] ‘Agriculture hit by drought'

Officials who have been warning that Turkey is facing a serious drought problem said that recent heavy rains and unseasonal frosts in May have dealt another blow to the agriculture sector.

The Turkish Union of Agricultural Chambers (TZOB) prepared a report on drought and unusual weather conditions' effects on the agricultural sector and held meetings with agricultural producers in the provinces of Malatya, Konya and Ordu.

In its report on the Konya region, TZOB said that Central Anatolian producers started the year in the midst of a weather disaster, and that it has continued through today. Negatively affected provinces were listed as Afyonkarahisar, Aksaray, Ankara, Çankırı, Çorum, Karaman, Kayseri, Kırıkkale, Kırşehir, Konya, Nevşehir, Niğde, Sivas and Yozgat. Olives, cherries and chestnuts were the worst-affected agricultural products.

In Malatya, the TZOB said that drought and frost were the two main factors behind the province's low agricultural output. Production of Malatya's main export, apricots, fell 94 percent. Another apricot-producing province, Elazığ, lost its entire apricot harvest.

Meanwhile, wheat harvests in Osmaniye, Kilis and Gaziantep were badly hit by adverse weather as well. Wheat harvests in Siirt, Osmaniye and Gaziantep fell 50 percent, while those in Adana and Hatay fell 40 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

In the Ordu regional meeting, TZOB said that frost and low rainfall had damaged nut, kiwi and tea harvests. 

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News type Inbrief
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Source of information TODAY'S ZAMAN / ISTANBUL
Keyword(s) drought , water scarcity
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News date 18/06/2014
Working language(s) ENGLISH