Seyhan adapts to climate change

01 Aug 2010

A site visit to eight projects in the scope of Enhancing the Capacity of Turkey to Adapt to Climate Change UN Joint Programme on 8-10 July carried out by a delegation composed of the UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative Shahid Najam, representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry’s Climate Department and representatives from the UN Joint Programme as well as the Small Grants Programme, signals that residents in the Seyhan River Basin are already running local climate change adaptation efforts with success.

New Horizons - Highlights of the visit included a visit the Developing Farmers’ Capacity to Adapt to Irrigation and Energy Restrictions project where the one-of-a-kind water-powered pump in Kayseri not only conserves energy but returns 5-10 thousand TL/year in profits for farmers, while another project which uses modern irrigation techniques is expected to conserve up to 50% of water annually. Schoolgirls in Niğde have already taken action to capture climate change in photos to raise awareness. In Adana, the first project ever to establish a connection between climate change and public health will aim to reduce transmitted diseases.

To adapt to changing climate conditions, Developing Farmers’ Capacity to Adapt to Irrigation and Energy Restrictions project that is being carried out in the Sarız District of Kayseri by the Sarız District Village Service Union aims to develop farmers’ awareness on alternative energy and modern agricultural techniques. To demonstrate how alternative energy sources can be used, a water-powered pump was set-up in the village of Yaylacı. With the force of water dropping from 6 meters, the pump can fill a 105 ton irrigation pool, 200 m away, 19 liters of irrigation water per second. Taking 6 hours to fill with an electric motor pump, the pool can be filled in 92 minutes using the water-powered pump. The energy conserved is reflected in the 5-10 thousand TL profits that fills the farmers’ pockets. The pump will initially irrigate 100 thousand m2 of land. Drip irrigation on a 20 thousand m2 apple orchard and sprinkler irrigation on a 20 thousand m² nearby clover field have already began in the scope of the project. An automatic climate station which evaluates agricultural risks based on climate data has also been established within the project framework. The project, owned by local administrations is a concrete example not only of climate change adaptation efforts at the local level but of the benefits provided in the region using locally developed technologies.


Another agricultural project implemented in Kayseri is the Savings by using Modern Technologies for Irrigation in Pınarbaşı aiming to conserve water by using modern irrigation technologies to cope with changing climate conditions. Realized in Kayseri’s Pınarbaşı district by the Karaboğaz, Kılıçmehmet, Büyükpotuklu Irrigation Union, a pool at a higher elevation has been built for training and application purposes. The water to be stored in the pool is transferred to a pipe system where it is distributed to 2000 decares of land either through drip irrigation or sprinkler irrigation depending on the product. The project is expected to conserve up to 50% more water. Using modern irrigation systems will also increase farmers’ income and contribute to the economic welfare of more than 1000 people. Results showing the difference between drip irrigation and flooding method on the same agricultural product will be shared with the public and the farmers of the region in the coming days.

The Young Nature Association’s Come on Girls, Let’s Take Pictures aims to increase the awareness among primary level school girls and their families on climate change adaptation and the environment for them to pass on their knowledge to forthcoming generations. Situated in Niğde’s Çamardı province, photography classes were provided to 25 successful young girls of low-income families in the region allowing them to recognize and document the rapidly changing face of the river basin. Perceiving themselves as part of nature, the girls can now observe climate change in Cimbar Valley, Maden Straight, Kazıklıali Valley, Emli Valley and Büyük Mangırcı Valley with the diligence of a visor. The student’s photographs will be exhibited starting in September.

In Adana, the Transmitted Diseases Observation and Control System project, the first ever to link climate change and public health, is being implemented by Çukurova University Tropical Diseases Research and Application Center (THAUM). The project aims to reach 3600 of the 12000 people who have migrated from east and southeast Anatolia as seasonal agricultural workers and settled in tents and sheds in the towns of Tuzla and Yunusoğlu in the district of Karataş, and around canals and canalettes near the Seyhan river in town of Yumurtalık, to diagnose and treat transmitted diseases and determine the vectors (such as insects and animals). Due to climate change, vector-human borne diseases such as Leishmania, malaria, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever and West Nile Fever as well as diseases transmitted from humans such as tuberculosis and trachoma are expected to increase. Among the inhabitants in the tents and sheds, women and children face the biggest challenges. Aside from transmitted diseases, access to clean water and education are also critical problems in the area. Within the scope of the project, THAUM made 29 visits to 927 tents in the towns of Sarıhamzalı, Karataş and Ali Hocalı and took throat, nasal, saliva, blood and gaita samples. 4031 vectors were collected and bacterial infections were evaluated, Hepatitis B and C viruses were scanned and tuberculosis, malaria, brucella and Leishmania samples were examined. Within the project scope, hygene products, toothbrushes, toothpastes, shoes, t-shirts and blankets were distributed. Trainings on sanitation and hygene were given.

Six of the eight projects that were visited in the basin are supported by the UN Joint Programme while two are funded by the Global Environment Fund Small Grants Programme (GEF/SGP). A total of 18 projects on agriculture and food safety, water resources and quality, public health, disaster risk management, basin and coastal areas management, natural resource management and infrastructure are currently being supported with the grants programme launched in the Seyhan River Basin in October 2009 in the context of the UN Joint Programme. While the projects aim to develop capacities and raise awareness on climate change adaptation in the long run, they will also contribute to developing good agricultural techniques, ensuring food security, determining flood risks, encouraging the use of alternative irrigation methods, and preventing rising sea levels. Combating climate change, which seriously impedes human development and the achievment of the Millennium Development Goals, is crucial for the two million inhabitants in the basin to sustain their livelihood.

Enhancing the Capacity of Turkey to Adapt to Climate Change UN Joint programme was launched under the leadership of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and UNDP in 2008 to facilitate Turkey’s adaptation to the effects of climate change, combat these effects, mitigate uncertainties and vulnerabilities and establish necessary strategies. Funded by the Government of Spain’s Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund, the Joint Programme comprises of objectives and activities in the Seyhan River Basin to support climate change adaptation efforts at the local level. Other UN Agencies in the programme are UNIDO, FAO and UNEP.