On Water Policies, Water Management and Our National Water Policy

On Water Policies, Water Management and Our National Water Policy

Dursun Yıldız

Hydropolitics Expert

 June 13  2023

Water Policies can be basically defined as plans and practices for basic preferences and targets in water management. These targets can be listed as improving income distribution, increasing employment, ensuring food, energy and natural environmental security, and contributing to economic growth.

Water policies create basic preferences and targets for both water resources management and water services management. It makes plans and applications accordingly.

Water resources management covers many activities within the borders of the basin. Three basic elements of these activities are defined as Planning, Implementation Tools and Institutional Structuring. Among these elements, the implementation tools, quantity and quality standards, water pricing, economic regulations such as taxes and incentives, It includes methods that will ensure the participation of the public and water users in decisions, land use patterns and rules that determine water rights, and many elements that interact with each other.

Water Services Management, on the other hand, means the supply, treatment and distribution of water for domestic use or any other purpose where water may be used, and treatment and disposal to the receiving environment.

According to the first of the two main policy options that have come to the fore and are still being discussed;

• Water is a human right, it should be made available to citizens as cheaply as possible in line with the principle of public interest.

According to the second option;

• water is a human need. Since it is a commercial commodity, its price must be covered by the customer in line with market requirements.


As in many countries of the world, water services are managed by the public sector in Turkey. 99% of the population receives water service from public institutions. In Turkey, on the other hand, the structure of water management, which is based on public ownership and public management, takes its power from the centralized organization, sees water as a social value rather than an economic good, and operates the system as supply-oriented, is changing.

Türkiye's Water Policy;

It is defined as the development of existing water resources in terms of both quantity and quality, taking into account the balance of protection and use, and basin-based integrated water management.

The basic principles of our National Water Policy are as follows;

• Water is public property

• Water is primarily a limited natural resource with social value. Its economic value, on the other hand, should be handled and evaluated with an understanding that does not relegate its social value.

• Priority in the use of water resources should be given to people's vital needs.

• The water resources management system should be based on river basins.

• The right of every citizen to have access to sufficient and appropriate quality water should be considered essential.

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