Lake Eber is about to die, experts warn

Lake Eber is about to die, experts warn

AFYONKARAHİSAR-Demirören News Agency
Lake Eber is about to die, experts warn

The water depth of Lake Eber, which was the centerpiece of one of Turkey’s largest freshwater reserves, has decreased dramatically recently, officials have warned.

The 150-square-meter lake, lying between the western province of Afyonkarahisar’s Bolvadin and Çay districts, was once the country’s 12th largest fresh water source.

“It was a bird paradise. There are endemic species here. But we did not acknowledge the value of those blessings,” said İbrahim Kıyar, local head of the Çayırpınar village on the lakeside.

“The authorities should find a radical solution to this situation,” he added.

As the flow rates of Akarçay, Çay and Sultandağı streams decreased due to draught, the lake was polluted by increasing amount of wastes. The water level was measured as 1.5 meters as of Nov. 28.

Some 30,000 people residing in four towns and 14 villages around the lake have become impoverished in recent years, according to Kıyar. Villagers, who make their living by cutting and selling reeds, cannot go boating because of shoaling. Farmers cannot find water source to grow beetroots.

“I have been the local head for 11 years. I grew up around this lake. It used to be very clean in the past; we could drink the water. There was no domestic or industrial waste flowing to the lake. Unfortunately, the lake is about to die because of the extreme pollution that has occurred in the last 40 years. Lake Eber is drawing its last breath,” said Kıyar.

The lake has been home to many species including the carp, the crane and the crayfish, which was an export commodity in the past.

“The feeding of the bees was perfect. The chain of the ecosystem has now broken.”

Project underway

An official project is being prepared to save the lake, officials have told Demirören News Agency.

“The issue of Eber is not a problem that can be solved in one day. We have a multidimensional project,” said Mehmet Miraç Topaloğlu, governor of Çay district.

The project, developed by the Environment Ministry, includes walking trails, camping sites and watch towers, he added.

Topaloğlu also said that the project should also include removing the bottom mud in the lake.

The manufacturing plants around the lake also pose an environmental risk.

“The waste from the factories around the lake should be prevented. The existing treatment systems should be checked. It is a natural lake with a high added value for the region,” said Çay Mayor Hüseyin Atlı.

Turkey’s Lakes Region, an area of a series of lakes located within the borders of the Burdur, Isparta, Antalya, Afyonkarahisar and Konya provinces, is in “great danger,” as some of the lakes in the area have already dried up and others are on the brink of extinction.

Scientists say Burdur Lake is also almost dead, urging authorities to take urgent action to save what is left of the lake. Similarly, a significant part of Akşehir Lake has disappeared.