Lake Marmara completely dries up
“In the last 30 years, the water level has gradually decreased. Today, neither a fish nor any living creature can be observed there as not a drop of water is left in the lake,” stated Erol Kesici, an officer from the Turkish Nature Conservation Association.
The lake basin hosted about 150 bird species and more than 20,000 waterfowls, producing a seasonal habitat, shelter and breeding area, Kesici added.
Pointing out that fishing is one of the essential sources of making a living for local people, Kesici noted that about 300,000 tons of fish could be caught annually with more than 400 fishing boats at the time when the lake preserved its natural features.
The expert also stated that the lake constitutes the most crucial water source for the region, where people’s main source of income comes from agriculture and animal husbandry.
Various vegetables and fruits were grown in the region, from grapes to corn, as the alluvial soils surrounding the lake were fertile, Ekisi added.
Underlining that the depletion of the lake’s water caused climatic and agricultural drought, Kesici stated that people eventually had to migrate as they could no longer benefit from the lake’s water for economic activities and fights over the lake’s area.
“Without the lake, it is almost impossible for these people to continue their daily lives. Lakes have left their mark on the daily lives of people who are dependent on them to sustain their economic activities,” he explained.
Elaborating on the reasons behind the severe drought that has dried up the lake, the expert noted that the destruction of the natural biodiversity and ecosystem of the lake destroyed the productivity of the water supply.
Noting that canals were opened from some surrounding streams to deliver water to Lake Marmara to increase agricultural activities, the expert said that the natural lake was turned into a water reservoir.
The lake surface area was also increased from 44 to 70 square kilometers.
“The solution is to pave the way for streams that naturally feed the lake and scientific agriculture. The basin should be protected with its natural order and balance,” he added.