Wetlands are noteworthy areas as breeding-ground for biota, threatened by drought and human intervention in Turkey as well as a large part of the world. The wetlands of Konya Closed Basin (KCB) with the diversity of its fauna and flora, is irreplaceable for nature conservation in Turkey and globally. Although KCB has the least amount of rainfall in Turkey, it has very important wetlands. In KCB, there are 16 important bird areas and 6 major plant sites. Moreover, KCB has breeding grounds for eight of out of thirteen bird species which are in danger of extinction all over the world. In recent years, ongoing drought conditions, increasing agricultural demands, and urban and industry water needs have led a significant reduction in the level of groundwater. Huge nonrenewable ground water abstraction for irrigation has caused to decline approximately 1-3 m in a year. This situation has created a negative impact on wetlands. The aim of this paper was to draw attention to importance of wetlands. In the study, the potential of water resources, characteristics and problems of the wetlands, challenges and solutions to protect wetlands were evaluated and discussed. The data were obtained from scientific publications, public and private organizations.
In the KCB, while there were 45,000 wells and 1.760.456 hectares area under cultivation in 2002, there were in 2011 over 100,000 wells and 2.023.513 hectares area under cultivation. Some of the wetlands, such as, Hotamış marshes and Eşmekaya marshes got completely dry. In addition, Ereğli marshes, Tuz Lake, Beyşehir Lake, Meke maar (Lake) and Samsam Lake decreased by 30-85%. The loss of biodiversity in the wetlands of KCB has reached a fearful rate.
It has been confirmed in the KCB that water consumption above feeding capacity of the basin is not sustainable. Using in accordance with feeding capacity of the groundwater, using water-saving methods on irrigation and developing awareness on water-saving in society can contribute to the solution of the problem.