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Farmers turn to China-backed power plant for irrigation water

Updated: 2022-06-18 10:04 ( Xinhua )
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ADANA, Turkey-Faced with chronic drought, farmers in southern Turkey have turned to a China-financed thermal power plant that provides irrigation water from an environment-friendly wastewater solution.

Located in Sugozu village in Adana province, the coal-fired Emba Hunutlu power plant is the country's first stackless power plant and represents China's largest-ever direct investment in Turkey.

The 1,320-MW project is expected to generate 9 billion kilowatt-hours of power annually upon full operation, accounting for about 3 percent of the total electricity supply across Turkey.

Equipped with advanced environmental protection systems, the power plant could remove contaminants from wastewater and convert it into recyclable effluent, whose impact on the environment is acceptable and can be reused for various purposes.

"Industrial wastewater from the Emba Hunutlu power plant is being reused for agricultural irrigation and farmers are benefiting from it," said Ali Dogan, the Sugozu village chief.

"Until now, we didn't see any harm stemming from this water. The quality of our crops is the same and we didn't witness any environmental problems arising from the thermal power plant," added Dogan, who is also a farmer.

This investment from China is also instrumental in regional employment and sustainability, the Turkish village head said.

Meanwhile, Duhan Araz, chief environmental engineer at the Emba Hunutlu power plant, emphasized "zero environmental pollution" for the project.

The tests made in monitoring wells have concluded that there is no environmental pollution in underground water, Araz said.

"Our main priority is to cause minimum harm for the environment with maximum treatment operations to remove contaminants," she said.

Chinese companies have been contributing to Turkey's sustainable development, with dedication to local photovoltaic projects, hydropower plants, natural gas storage facilities and railway construction, said a report on sustainable development commitments by Chinese companies in Turkey released by the Beijing-based State Power Investment Corporation in December.

The Emba Hunutlu power plant is a paradigm of such contributions from China.

"We did not have water before, but after its (the power plant's) construction, we benefited from its water and still do to this day," said Adem Kargi, a local farmer.

"I planted an olive garden and you can usually have a first produce in seven years, but with this water, I began having olives in only four years," Kargi added.

Veli Kayali, a watermelon farmer, also expressed gratitude for the building of the power plant.

"In this season when there is no natural water resources in this region, the power plant came to the rescue and it has not affected the quality of the produce in any way,"Kayali said.

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