Akgün İlhan


IPC Fellowship

Granting institution

Partner institution

Period of the Fellowship

August 2019 - August 2020

Project title

Tracing Possibilities of Urban Water Demand Management in the Climate Change Age in Turkey: Deriving Lessons from Istanbul and Berlin

Project description

The increasing water demand of rapidly growing cities obliges many local authorities all around the world to expand their water supplies through building more hydraulic infrastructures (e.g., dams and inter-basin water transfer systems), often at high economic, social, and ecological costs. In the age of climate change, however, cities need to adopt water demand management (WDM) through measures of water conservation and efficiency. With its supply-side approach for dealing with water stress, Istanbul not only fails in climate change adaptation but also follows maladaptation strategies such as grabbing nearby cities’ rivers to secure water supply in times of drought. Berlin, on the other hand, has gradually built a more sustainable water management understanding through its closed-water-cycle approach, ensuring that all water consumed within the city comes from internal sources as well as other WDM strategies. This study compares the two cities within their national contexts in order to discover what climate change adaptation policies and actions they have developed for urban water management with a particular focus on WDM. The study aims to open a constructive debate on how Turkey can adopt more climate-conscious measures benefitting from WDM, drawing on the German experience.

Short biography

Akgün İlhan received her PhD in Environmental Sciences from the Institute of Science and Technology in Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, with a FI scholarship from the Catalan government. She completed her MA in Curriculum & Instruction in Hacettepe University and MSc in International Environmental Science in Lund University with a scholarship from the Swedish Institute. She holds a BSc in Landscape Architecture from Ankara University. She worked as a research associate under the supervision of Joan David Tàbara, in the EU-funded project “Methods and Tools for Integrated Sustainability Assessment (MATISSE)” during her PhD studies. After returning to Turkey, she worked at the Right to Water Campaign (Istanbul) between 2012 and 2018. She has given lectures in “Environment & Tourism” and “Sustainability from Environmental & Social Perspectives” in Boğaziçi University since 2017. She is the author of the book Towards a New Water Policy: Water Management, Alternatives and Recommendations (2011). She has written chapters and articles about water and climate crisis in Turkey in various books, newspapers, and magazines. She is also the producer of the radio programme Su Hakkı aired from 2012 to 2018 and the ongoing Sudan Gelen since 2018 in Açık Radyo, Istanbul.