Rent-seeking projects destroy the nature of Van city

The dams, ponds and hydroelectric power plants (HPPs) built in the province of Van and its districts are destroying the nature.

The basin of Lake Van is home to very diverse animal and plant species. There are hundreds of large and small streams and creeks in the basin. The swamps and reeds around these streams constitute a very rich habitat with breeding and feeding sites for species, but in recent years, they have been facing destruction due to corrupt policies.

The power plants and dams established along many streams and creeks in Van's Erciş, Muradiye, Gevaş and Gürpınar districts are destroying the natural habitat of various species. Moreover, the migratory routes of species are blocked due to stream improvements.

In the last few years, the AKP has built more than 40 power plants and dams around Lake Van to make profits for its supporters in the region. The AKP government, which destroyed a large part of the region for the sake of profit, continues to destroy the rest of the natural habitat gradually. Most of the streams originating in the mountains of Van's Erciş, Çaldıran, Muradiye and Gevaş districts and flowing into Lake Van have dried up thanks to the power plants and dams built along these streams. Thousands of animal and plant species in stream beds have thus become extinct.

Zilan and Deliçay in Erciş, and Bendimahi in Muradiye, are among the numerous streams flowing into Lake Van, the largest soda lake in the world.

The Bendimahi Brook, the biggest stream flowing into Lake Van, is among the prominent migration routes of breeding for the Pearl Mullet, an endemic fish living in the lake.

The brook, the depth of which reaches up to two meters during the summer months, got to the point of drying up because of the dams, ponds and hydroelectric power plants built over it as part of rent-seeking projects. The drying up of the brook has caused the death of thousands of pearl mullets, small fries, and fish roes.

The Muradiye Waterfall, known for its spectacular natural beauty, is also losing its glory because of hydroelectric power plants. The water level of the waterfall on Bendimahi Brook, 8 km from the Muradiye district, has witnessed a significant decrease because of the HPPs built around it in recent years. The decrease in the water level had a negative impact on tourism, which is the main source of income for the local people.

The State Hydraulic Works (DSİ) is supposed to provide the required amount of water for the survival of the animal species in the region but fails to do so since the ruling AKP government sells the water from HPPs and dams.