Despite opposition from local villagers, a hydroelectric power plant project was approved and built at a point along the Zorava stream in 2015 in the district of Siirt (Sert) in Turkey. Five years later, a new hydroelectric power plant project is planned – just seven to eight kilometers away from the previous one. Zorava stream passes through Kuşdalı (Şavura) village in Eruh (Dihe) district in Siirt (Sert).
An agreement was signed on 21 March 2019 between the State Hydraulic Works (DSİ) and Tigris Energy Generation to proceed with the project. Villagers applied to the Siirt Administrative Court on 25 April 2019, however, to halt the project as they noted that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report for the project had not been prepared appropriately. On 30 April 2019, the Siirt Administrative Court decided to suspend the project, “taking into account the issues that the planned project may cause irreversible damage to the environment”.
The final hearing of the case regarding calls for the cancellation of the project and the problematic aspects of the EIA Report was held on 23 September 2020. It was stated that a decision would be communicated to the lawyers within fifteen days. However, no notification has since been made.
The villagers of Kuşdalı (Şavura) state that they will continue to oppose the project to the end and prevent the hydroelectric power plant project from harming the environment. Bünyamin Sezgin, a villager from the region, stated that the project will bring nothing but harm to the natural environment, and therefore, villagers should unite and protect the stream.
He said: “All these village people make a living without harming this water. They built the Ilısu dam in Siirt (Eruh). People were separated there and prevented from accessing the Botan River. People used to go down to the river’s edge. Now, people have moved away from the water’s edge”.
Another villager, Adile Batur, noted that her ancestors lived for hundreds of years in the region without harming the environment and its natural beauty. Batur said that the villagers do not want to leave their village and move to the city. She stated: “When we heard that they will build a new dam, we knew it meant it will damage nature. This hurts us deeply. Nobody can make a living in the city. Our village is everything. I do not want them to touch our land and water”.