Mounting food shortages and high prices have triggered global turmoil. Given the emphasis on irrigation as a key to boosting production, underutilization of already existing irrigation infrastructure needs to be better understood. In Turkey, from a third to half of irrigated land remains unutilized. This article, based on fieldwork conducted by the author in 2006 and updated through 2009, suggests degraded infrastructure combined with an increasingly unfavorable production environment as key factors. Beyond narrow technical or operational issues, Turkey's increasing integration and exposure to the global economy, emerges as critical. Explored are Turkish farmers' responses to challenges faced, and their implications on irrigation schemes' socio-organizational and physical viability and sustainability, and on broader environmental, socioeconomic and political issues.