Lake Tuz may be on brink of extinction in years: Academic
Lake Tuz, Turkey’s second-largest lake in Central Anatolia, is in great danger as some parts of the lake have already dried up and the rest of it may be on the brink of extinction in 30 years, an expert has warned.
Muazzez Çelik Karakaya, an academic from Konya Technical University, warned that the lake, which has already shrunk by 30 percent since the 1930s, could gradually disappear for up to 30 years if no measures are taken.
It is highly difficult to stop this trend, but still possible to slow it down, according to the expert.
The lake is among the favorite habitat of migratory animals and has long been a hatching ground for flamingos as they usually prefer to lay their eggs in salty and wet areas.
However, the drought due to lack of rainfall and excessive use of underground water has led to lake waters to sap, making finding food a challenge for the flock of migratory birds.
Besides providing a perfect habitat for species, the lake also meets more than half of Turkey’s salt needs since its one of the largest hypersaline lakes in the world.
“As water decreases due to global warming, salt precipitation will also decrease. This will have negative cultural consequences. Because more than a hundred bird species live in the region,” she noted.
“A great bird migration is waiting for us if the situation continues like this,” Karakaya added.
The expert also stressed that the drying of the lake can also have negative consequences for human health.
“If salt precipitation does not occur as the water decreases, a clayey sediment area will form on the surface of the lake. This means carrying a lot of dust, which can lead to many respiratory diseases,” she noted.
Karakaya recommended that the water in the small streams connected to the lake be used less in agricultural areas.
Turkey has been on a precipice of environmental disaster as several major lakes in the country are on the brink of drying up due to a combination of increasing temperatures, drought and excessive abstraction of water for agriculture.
The country has been also suffering from a dry spell in the past three years which led to a recession of water levels in dams and lakes.
As much as 60 percent of the country’s 300 natural lakes have dried up over the past 50 years and the losses have been devastating for wildlife and the people who make a living from the land.
Amid climate change concerns, the government seeks to rehabilitate lands and boost water supplies.
These concerns also led the country to ratify the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.