Turkey’s 16 largest cities have legally separate and financially autonomous municipal water and sanitation companies called Su ve Kanalizasyon Idaresi (SKIs). The first utility created, formed in 1981, is Istanbul’s water authority, ISKI. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s establishment of the other utilities followed.

SKIs exist in the following metropolitan cities: Adana, Ankara, Antalya, Bursa, Istanbul, Diyarbakir, Kayseri, Denizli, Eskiehir, Gaziantep, Izmir, Konya, Malatya, Mersin, Samsun, and anliurfa.

In 2008, there were 3,225 municipalities in Turkey, including some very small municipalities. Before the municipal elections of March 2009, the number was reduced by 862 through reclassification of small municipalities with less than 2,000 inhabitants, bringing the number of municipalities to 2,363.

The Turkish Society for Infrastructure and Trenchless Technology (TSITT) signed an agreement with the Union of Municipalities of the Marmara Region (UMMR) on 5 August 2010, which emphasised collaboration between the two organisations for increased use of Trenchless Technology in Turkey.

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The UMMR was founded in 1975, and is currently active in eleven cities – Istanbul, Balikesir, Bilecik, Bursa, Canakkale, Edirne, Kirklareli, Kocaeli, Sakarya, Tekirdag and Yalova.

Istanbul – ISKI

With a population of almost 13.5 million, Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city. ISKI is the municipality responsible for providing water and wastewater services to Istanbul.

ISKI was founded under the Istanbul Government in 1981 as part of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. The main priorities of ISKI are preserving water resources, providing good-quality water services to the public, and managing and treating wastewater. ISKI became the biggest public company in Turkey in 1995. The annual budget of ISKI in 1996 was $US257.6 million ($TRY471.2 million) and its investment budget is $US106.7 million ($TRY195.1 million).

The total service area of ISKI is 5,342 square km. Within this service area, the municipality manages watermains totalling 15,586 km in length and sewers totalling 12,714 km in length. The transport mains and distribution networks are monitored using the SCADA system.

To manage these networks, ISKI has completed many local and international projects and investments in water/waste management and wastewater treatment. As a result of these projects, ISKI has 13 water treatment plants, with a combined capability of processing 3,608,000 cubic metres per day, and 15 wastewater treatment plants in different provinces of Istanbul. As Istanbul continues to grow, ISKI continues to build more facilities to cope with the ever expanding population.

ISKI has determined all of its key targets until 2040 through a Master Plan for water supply and wastewater discharging. The Master Plan accounts for metrics such as population, water requirements, water resources, water purification, and the recycling potential of treated wastewater.

ISKI is currently microtunnelling three new sewage collectors that will provide Turkey’s inland Marmara Sea with better environmental protection.

Ankara – ASKI

Ankara is the capital of Turkey, and the country’s second largest city after Istanbul. The Ankara Municipality was created in 1949, but it wasn’t until the municipality management model was created in 1980 that the Ankara Water and Sewerage Authority (ASKI) was created.

This change brought in a new era of infrastructure works, including:

  • Watershed protection
  • Provision of groundwater and surface water drinking water sources
  • Distribution of treated drinking water
  • Regularly maintenance checks of the city’s water quality
  • Ongoing maintenance and repairs of networks and plants.

Ankara’s municipal boundaries expanded between 1985–2010, leading to a number of planned projects to cope with the water demand. At the end of 1999, ASKI had constructed 5,138 km of transmission mains, 74 water reservoirs, and 39 pumping stations. Future projects include constructing 54 new water storage facilities, 25 pumping stations, and the expansion of the municipalities distribution network, which is comprised of prestressed concrete, steel and ductile piping.

ASKI has a rigorous leak detection unit, which utilises acoustic monitoring systems, correlation systems, data logger systems, flow measurement and pressure measurement to minimise water losses.

Diyarbakir – DISKI

Diyarbakir is one of the largest cities in south-eastern Turkey, with a population of approximately 850,000. DISKI is responsible for the provision high quality water, the collection of rain water and the treatment of wastewater.

The Drinking Water Treatment Plant Project has been planned to overcome recent influxes of migration to Diyarbakir, urban expansion and the ageing network that is responsible for substantial water losses. The first phase of the two-phase project is now underway, with the project aiming to be completed in 2025. The project will secure drinking and industrial water for Diyarbakir.

Izmir - IZSU

Izmir is the third largest city in Turkey, based on population, and is located in the western extremity of Anatolia. The metropolitan area in the Izmir Province has a population of approximately 4 million.

In 1987, the municipality began the Izmir Water Supply and Sewerage Project to promote better environmental conditions in Izmir, reduce health hazards, and to bring about major environmental improvements and economic benefits in the water supply and sewerage sector in Izmir. The project was completed in 1994.

The current water network is divided into 366 regions. To assist with the authority’s water management plan, the Izmir Waterworks developed the IZSU Geographic Infrastructure Information System to store infrastructure assets in an Oracle Spatial database. The $US256,953 ($TRY470,000) system stores data on 4,200 km of water pipeline, 43,770 water fittings, 2,820 km of wastewater pipeline, and 74,720 wastewater fittings. About 300 IZSU personnel access the data through four websites. IZSU’s 21 branch offices utilise the data to improve efficiency and responsiveness to customer requests.

The municipality uses regular monitoring of the networks to cut-down water losses by sourcing where underground failures are located. Since the monitoring program commenced in 2004, water gain has risen from 20 million cubic metres in 2004, to 47 million cubic metres in 2008.

Sanliurfa – USKI

Over the last decade, USK has played a large role in infrastructure studies in districts that lack appropriate sewerage systems, clean drinking water and adequate rain drainages.

This has lead to USK constructing 75 km of sewage systems in the following districts: Veyselkarani, Erturulgazi, Karıyaka Esentepe, Devteti, Ahmetyesevi, Süleymaniye, Direkli, Akabe, Akemsettin, Buhara, Mance, Dedeosman, Hacıbayram, Muradiye, Selçuklu, Osmanlı and Hayati Harrani Parishes.

Additionally, an 8.5 km long sewerage system for the TOK Residence and Evren Industry Complex was auctioned and constructed in February of 2006. A 120 km water pipe was also completed for delivering refined water the following districts; Bahçelievler, Mimarsinan, airevket, Sultan Fatih, Balarbaı, Yavuzselim, Akabe, Akemsettin, Buhara, Mance, Dedeosman, Atatürk, Osmanlı, Selçuklu, Hayatiharrani, Muradiye, Hacıbayram, Topdaı, Yakubiye and Eyyübiye.

The current administration has taken many steps towards problems of rain overflows and flooding. Recently, roads and streets that were under flood risk, totalling 13.5 km, were lined with rain drainage canals.

Additionally, anliurfa is home to one of the greatest trenchless feats in Turkey, the anliurfa Irrigation Tunnels.

The tunnels, constructed in connection with the Southeastern Anatolia Project, are a multi-sector integrated regional development project of Turkey. The tunnels were commissioned by the State Hydraulic Works authority and completed in December 2005. The two parallel tunnels run in the anlıurfa Province of Turkey and deliver water from the reservoir of Atatürk Dam on Fırat River.

The length of each tunnel is 26,400 m, with an outer diameter of 9.5 m and inner diameter of 7.62 m, and they each deliver 328 cubic meters of water per second. The tunnels are the largest in the world, in terms of length and flow rate. The Turkish chamber of Civil Engineers lists the anlıurfa Irrigation Tunnels as one of the fifty civil engineering feats in Turkey.

Currently, the State Hydraulic Affairs is constructing the Suruc Tunnel in anlıurfa, which will be the world’s fifth largest water delivery project.