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GREEN > Turkey’s salty ‘Lake Tuz’ faces worst drought over the last 10 years

ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency

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Lake Tuz is seen in an aerial photo. Wikimedia Commons

Lake Tuz is seen in an aerial photo. Wikimedia Commons

Nice and warm weather is threatening Turkey’s second biggest and most delicate lake, which is facing its largest drought over the last 10 years.

Located at the heart of Central Anatolia, the ecosystem of “Lake Tuz,” which also provides 60 percent of the country’s needs in salt, is already endangered due to the mass exploitation of its natural resources.

The lack of rain this winter coupled with the prospective establishment of new companies may split the lake into two, an expert warned.

“The formation of the salt on Lake Tuz is directly connected to the level of water [underneath the ground]. We are [currently] experiencing the uninformed use of the groundwater. The second factor that directly affects the water reserves of Lake Tuz is the decrease of rain,” the head of Lake Tuz environmental research center Semih Ekercin was quoted by news portal T24.

Ekercin emphasized snowfall was crucial for alimenting the lake’s reservoirs in water, adding alternative plans should be elaborated for years during which rains would be lower than average.

“We are passing through the driest January over the last decade. If February and March also continue like this, there is a possibility of a huge risk. Hence the main vaporization occurs during the summer time when the temperatures in the region rise up to 45-50 degrees,” Ekercin said.

He added 10 new salt factories may add up to the eight present ones and are the biggest threat for the lake’s survival.

Also home to one of the world’s largest flamingo colony, Lake Tuz is emitting a loud S.O.S. for years, as it slowly dies out due to uncontrolled water use while the authorities continue to turn a blind eye.

Environmentalist groups say the lake has shrunk 50 percent in size over the last 40 years.

January/20/2014

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