Search for Plans for Drinking Water Basins: Ömerli Drinking Water Basin as an Example
Water resources are vital for ensuring the continuity of life on Earth and should be protected. However, water supplies to large cities are currently being polluted and depleted owing to gradual ecosystem degradation from anthropogenic activities. Studies focusing on solutions to pollution and the depletion of water resources must include the rural–urban systems that strain basin ecosystems at every planning stage, including every country, region, and basin at every level. The aim of this study was to determine a new planning method enabling sustainability in water basins within residential areas. The scope of the study included elements of the basin ecosystem and the negative anthropogenic effects of urban systems on the basin ecosystem. Therefore, through systematic and comprehensive planning, basin and urban ecosystems, as well as regional parameters and the interaction between parameters, were examined regarding the current and future situation. The aim was to achieve targets at the maximum level by enabling the applicability of plans and coordination, to align planning decisions with the unique sociocultural aspects of each region, and to integrate them into the current system. Therefore, addressing ecological and socioeconomic systems together and reducing the limitations were the focus of this study. Ömerli Drinking Water Basin, located on the Asian side of Istanbul, was chosen as a project basin to implement the plans, because it meets one-third of Istanbul’s water requirement, with a high biodiversity, including rare vegetation types, and has experienced considerable human population growth since 1980. Industrial and mining activities in its vicinity have resulted in environmental impacts, such as erosion, owing to intense agricultural activities and overpopulation. The proposed new planning model, which could be integrated into existing laws through broad participation in the law-making process, is a system in which basin ecosystem boundaries and protected areas are based on scientific facts and where the system is managed from a single center.
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