Turkey lost 10 lakes in 30 years: Expert

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Turkey has lost 10 of its lakes in the last 30 years due to climate change, drought and wrong agricultural irrigation techniques, the head of a natural protection association has said.

“The water levels in Lake Beyşehir and Lake Eğirdir, two of Turkey’s biggest freshwater reservoirs, have decreased 60 percent in the last 30 years. Many of our lakes, Lake Kovada and the surrounding natural park coming first, have entered a period of drying and malfunction. It has been 10 years since Lake Akşehir, which was the country’s fifth largest natural freshwater lake, was wiped off the map,” said Erol Kesici, a limnology expert from the Turkish Association for Conservation of Nature (TTKD).

Turkey’s southwest, 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, he warned, marking the World Wetlands Day on Feb. 2.

The dams, ponds and regulation basins on the streams feeding the lakes should be limited, according to the academic.

“The pollution of the lakes by agricultural wastewater occurring from drainage areas and including manures and pesticide, by the dense sewage from residential areas and by the industrial wastes should definitely be stopped. The treatment and filtration systems in the watershed areas should be structured and operated with the new technology. The agriculture activity and water consumption should be arranged in accordance with the principles of ecological agriculture,” said Kesici.

Migratory birds, fish and other organisms are inseparable part of wetlands, he said, also warning against cutting the reeds on the lakefronts.

Some 75 percent of Turkey’s annual water consumption, nearly 35 billion cubic meters, consists of agricultural irrigation, according to the expert.

Hurriyet Daily News

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