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Seyhan river basin

Project: CLICO
Country: Turkey
Size: 20 100 km²


The Seyhan river basin, which is the second biggest river drainage basin in the Eastern Mediterranean after the river Nile, is particularly vulnerable to hydro-climatic stressors particularly as regards its labour-intensive agricultural practices. It is estimated that a decrease in rain precipitation of 25-35% and a related decrease of 24-27% in river runoff will take place in the basin by 2070. This is expected to further trigger the increase in groundwater abstraction, which is estimated to cause a saltwater intrusion of 10km inland given a 50% increase in abstraction.

There are serious human security issues associated with those changes. The agricultural output of the basin makes as much as 10% of Turkey's agricultural output and the area, especially the city of Adana, is receiving positive migration mostly from the southeastern part of Turkey. At the same time, the region has the highest rate of unemployment in the country with a rate of 16.8%. Seasonal migrants arriving in the region to work during the agricultural season are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change on their income, livelihoods and health. Already existing ethnic tensions and migration might further be exacerbated by hydro-climatic hazards. It is estimated that each year more than 100,000 seasonal workers arrive in the region to work in agriculture as their sole means of annual income. High environmental risk and socio-economic marginalization could bring about conflicts around agriculture-related water issues, health, migration and employment.

This case study will analyse the roles, responsibilities and willingness to change of related actors including but not limited to seasonal workers, agricultural intermediaries, landowners, local government and national government in order to obtain a better understanding on how to develop sound climate change adaptation policies. The analysis of this Mediterranean hydro-security hotspot will thus help improve our understanding of the determinants of vulnerability and adaptive capacity and on conditions that lead actors to engage in conflict, which are two main research priorities in CLICO.


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