The outlook is grim for Konya Plain, a massive stretch of land in the eponymous province viewed as Turkey’s breadbasket. The number of sinkholes, which was only 600 in January 2021, has now reached 2,000, experts say, amid concerns over more formations.
Sinkholes, a result of diminishing groundwater levels, is now closer to residential areas and agricultural fields, professor Fetullah Arık, an expert who heads a sinkhole research center at Konya Technical University, says. *
For farmers, the lack of rain gives them little option but to tap into the groundwater supplies to sustain their crops, forcing some to turn to installing illegal ground wells. However, the reliance on groundwater has seen underground water levels drop by more than two meters in the past five years, contributing to an increase in massive sinkholes across the province, worrying farmers as they spread closer to residential areas. The number of sinkholes in the region has doubled in the past year. Gathered below are images of some of the farmers and shepherds as they cope with the extremely dry conditions and unstable land. *