Lake in Turkey’s west dries up due to drought, improper irrigation
Lake Marmara in Turkey’s western province of Manisa has almost dried up due to years of low rainfall and misusage of its water for agricultural purposes.
Created by the State Hydraulic Works (DSİ) for agricultural irrigation in 1945, the lake used to give an average of 150 million cubic meters of water per year to the Gediz Plain.
Once home to numerous waterfowl such as crested pelicans and cormorants, the lake has been in danger of drying out completely this summer, only a small area to its northwest has accumulated water about 10 centimeters high.
The drought stemming from climate change has led to a recession of lake waters, making finding food a challenge for migratory birds.
The main reasons for the rapid decrease in the water level of the lake are that the temperature is above seasonal normals, rapid evaporation and illegal irrigation, according to DSİ Regional Director Birol Çınar.
Çınar stated that they anticipate that the loss of water in the lake would continue in August and September.
Selim Selvioğlu, the mukhtar of Tekelioğlu village located on the edge of the lake, stated that the lake has almost completely dried up for the first time this summer, pointing out the irreversible risks.
“There is currently a week of water left in the lake and will dry out completely in a week,” Selvioğlu said, adding that two years ago, the lake was at normal water level and that seven villages in the surrounding area made a living by fishing from the lake.
The situation is not confined to Lake Marmara. Illegal irrigation also was blamed for drying up of other lakes in Turkey’s western provinces and in Konya Plain, known as the country’s breadbasket.
Figures show that temperatures are steadily increasing in the country due to climate change, leading to significant drops in water resources.