Lakes Region in Turkey’s southwest may disappear from maps, warns expert
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, an expert has warned.
“There will be no Lakes Region on the maps; it will disappear. There will be no blue dots that indicate lakes in the new maps to be drawn,” said Atakan Yüklü, vice chair of the Chamber of Geophysics Engineers’ Antalya branch.
The Lakes Region comprises several lakes in different sizes, including the Beyşehir, Eğirdir, Akşehir, Burdur, Eber, Acıgöl, Suğla, Ilgın, Işıklı, Salda and Kovada lakes.
Scientists say Burdur Lake is 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.
Eğirdir Lake, Turkey’s second largest freshwater, has been shrinking at an alarming rate that is worrying scientists. Salda Lake, which has been reputed as Turkey’s Maldives for its white beach and clear water, is facing a serious risk of pollution.
If the pollution continues at its current pace, the lake may lose some of its distinctive features.
Turkey was once rich in water resources but it is questionable now, according to Yüklü.
“Some 20 years ago researches had warned that Turkey’s water resources will dry up. This scenario is playing out now. We have lakes that have dried or are about to dry,” he said.
“I cannot even make a sentence starting with ‘if necessary measures are not taken,’ because we have already passed this stage. We need to devise and implement an urgent action plan to produce solutions. If we do not do this, we are going to lose our remaining water resources,” Yüklü warned.
Ponds that are built on rivers without proper planning and illegal drillings cause lakes to dry, Yüklü added.
“Too many illegal drillings are being carried out across the country. For instance, there are a number of sinkholes in the Central Anatolian province of Konya and those sinkholes move towards the city center. Underwater is withdrawn through drilling and holes emerge under the ground. Cave-ins as large as a football field signal serious dangers ahead,” he said.
Illegal drillings must be stopped, geophysical studies must be carried out, dangerous ponds should not be allowed, and only then some of the lakes can be saved, according to Yüklü.
“Next generations will ask where the name ‘Lakes Region’ came from. It is just a name now, because lakes have just disappeared and the lakes in this region will not appear in the maps as blue dots. If they dry up completely, life in this region will come under threat,” he said.
About half of the wetlands in Turkey have dried up in the last 40 years due to a combination of increasing temperatures, drought and excessive abstraction of water for agriculture, the Istanbul-based Society for the Protection of Nature (DHKD) said in a report earlier this year.