‘Turkey’s Maldives’ Lake Salda faces drought threat

With its pristine, white shores and turquoise-colored waters, Lake Salda has gained popularity in recent years. But this body of water in western Turkey’s Burdur province may join other famous lakes that are drying up. Recent rainfall and snowfall apparently were not sufficient to restore the lake to its former glory, while small islets started appearing in spots where people once dipped their feet. Servet Cevni, a geology engineer, says the lake is in danger of drying up.

The lake, which dominated headlines for preservation efforts and as a favorite location for excursions, as well as its geological formation similar to a Mars crater, hosted more than 1 million visitors last year, despite the coronavirus pandemic. But its waters recede more and more every day, up to 30 meters (98.42 feet) in two spots. Cevni said there are a number of factors affecting water levels in the lake, from the “human effect” to the use of water in agricultural activities. “The unusual drop in precipitation added to these problems. The lake’s main source of water is from a nearby mountainous area, which serves as a ski resort. Snowfall there feeds the water, but we do not see enough snowfall there,” he lamented.

Cevni also warned of pollution from visitors and hailed the decision of the local environment authority for a partial ban on swimming at the lake. “The lake cannot cope with any pollution as it is a stillwater lake with a limited water supply,” he said. Cevni added that coupled with future deprivation of precipitation, the pollution may further endanger Salda.