Project to save Lake Marmara completed

Project to save Lake Marmara completed

MANİSA - Demirören News Agency
Project to save Lake Marmara completed

The construction of the project to bring water to Lake Marmara in the western province of Manisa as it dried up in the last two years with the drought and water resources cut has been completed and is ready for implementation, officials have announced.

“The project, which has been completed, will provide water transfer to the lake and save it in the medium and long term,” said Birol Çınar, an official from State Hydraulic Works (DSİ).

“With the project, for which the pre-qualification application was made on June 22, we will bring 25 million cubic meters of water flowing from Bozdağ [a mountain range partly located in Manisa] to Lake Marmara through five regulators,” Çınar said.

He also pointed out that in the first phase of the project, illegal use will be prevented.

“The project, which is at the top of our agenda, will be put out to tender on Aug. 25,” Çınar added.

The main reasons for the drought stemming from climate change are that the temperature is above seasonal normals, causing rapid evaporation, and illegal irrigation, according to Çınar.

The lake, located between the borders of the districts of Salihli, Saruhanlı and Gölmarmara, was a registered “wetland of national importance.”

Once home to 20,000 waterfowl from 101 different species of endangered birds, such as crested pelicans and cormorants, the lake dried up over time, leaving boats docked on its bed and with fishing over.

Local farmers occupied the area with the formation of deep crevices after the lake dried up and opened to agriculture.

However, discussions began to take place among farmers who could not agree on the sharing of the lake.

As a result of four different land conflicts, a man died and two people were injured. Three of the eight suspects taken into custody were arrested. The gendarmerie confiscated seven shotguns and a pistol used in the events.

Regional authorities applied a significant fine of 1.7 million Turkish Liras ($96,577) to the farmers in dispute who were caught while occupying Lake Marmara.

Soldiers from a local military base took guard at the area of the lake, which was once a bird sanctuary, to prevent new fights on July 20.

The lands in the lake should be used under the control of the General Directorate of DSİ until the current project is completed and the lake is full of water, according to Manisa Governor Yaşar Karadeniz.

“We sent a petition to the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry regarding this, and a meeting was held with the military police to increase the existing measures to prevent the invasion of the lake,” Karadeniz added.

“People started beating and hitting each other,” said Rafet Kerse, the head of an aquaculture cooperative in Manisa’s Gölmarmara district.

Created by 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 in Manisa.

Selim Selvioğlu, the mukhtar of Tekelioğlu village, which is located on the edge of the lake, pointed out the irreversible risks.

“Two years ago, the lake was at normal water level and seven villages in the surrounding area made a living by fishing from the lake,” Selvioğlu said.

The situation is not confined to Lake Marmara alone, as illegal irrigation was also blamed for drying up of other lakes in Türkiye’s western provinces and Konya Plain, known as the country’s breadbasket.

Figures show that temperatures are steadily increasing in the country due to climate change, leading to a significant decline in water resources.