Lake Van water level continues to decrease

The water level in Van Lake has decreased due to faulty agricultural irrigation and temperature increase, raising concerns for the future of fisheries in the lake.

Elif Aksüt
Elif Aksüt 2022-11-04
Lake Van water level continues to decrease

The perfect cycle of nature can be damaged by various destructions and climate changes over time. Due to these damages, it is inevitable that nature compromises its perfect order and functioning. One of the places that has been damaged by global climate change recently has been the unique beauty of Turkey, Lake Van. The decreasing water level in Lake Van, which is the largest soda lake in the world, raises concerns among citizens. Moreover, the curiosity of the people who make their living by fishing is increasing due to the decrease in water in the lake.


There Are Sources Coming to the Drying Point

Pointing out that precipitation and spring waters are the most important source that feeds Lake Van, Elmastaş expressed the problems experienced with the decrease in precipitation and increase in temperature. Bitlis Eren University (BEÜ) Rector, Prof. Dr. Necmettin Elmastaş underlines that there is more evaporation with the increase in temperature due to the decrease in precipitation, and this causes a decrease in the water level in the lake. Noting that studies were carried out in regions such as Elmastaş, Adilcevaz, Erciş and Ahlat, he stated that they saw that the level of drilling wells was opened in the regions and that the level decreased with excessive use. He also stated that they have determined that some valuable resources that feed the lake waters have reached the drying point. According to Elmastaş, this situation can be expressed as an important factor in the decrease in the water level in the lake. He adds that the resources are on the verge of drying up with the increase in temperature, the drying up of the resources due to human causes and the decrease in precipitation.

Image: Van Sesi Gazetesi


Withdrawal Affects Boats, Too

Ali Abalı, who has been fishing in Lake Van for about 20 years, stated that sand was collected at the entrance of the port as the waters receded. He said this sand and stones hit the bottom of the boats, making it difficult to enter the port. Ali Abalı stated that the inside of the harbor is quite deep, but it started to fill up due to the sand, making it difficult to enter. Abalı continued his speech by saying that the boats were exposed to problems due to the port being built on beach areas. As a perspective towards the future, Abalı stated that they had to suffer because the boat ports were built in the wrong area at the time.

Image: TRT Haber


Fishing Endangered

Decreased rainfall due to the increase in temperature and the drought issue that emerged with global climate change worry the citizens who make their living by fishing in Lake Van. With the increase in temperature in the region, the precipitation decreases and the evaporation level increases and the water loss in the lake decreases at a serious rate. These negativities cause a noticeable recession of the waters in the lake, and the fishing ports often reach a shallow level. The people of the region, who have problems in accessing the port and fishing due to the receding waters and drought, are beginning to worry about the future.

Image: News Stance


It is stated that the shrinkage in the water ratio will continue

Professor of Geography Department, who works at Van Yüzüncü Yıl University, Faculty of Letters. Dr. Faruk Alaeddinoğlu, in one of his speeches, said that drying will continue to a great extent due to the increased temperature. Stating that Lake Van has continued to lose area and resources for nearly 30 years, faculty member Alaeddinoğlu stated that there is no evidence of an expansion in the surface area of ​​Lake Van or an increase in the water level of the lake. He explained that this is due to changes in the shape and amount of precipitation and evaporation. According to Alaeddinoğlu, in the past, groundwater could be fed to a significant extent thanks to snowfall. However, he said that today, the snowfall is not that much, and the rains evaporate by flowing into the lake due to the slope. Finally, he stated that the large and powerful springs feeding Van Lake are now working against the lake.

Image Van Sesi Gazetesi


It should be used sparingly while irrigating in agriculture

Rector of Bitlis Eren University (BEÜ), who stated that agriculture must be done in Turkey, but with a drip system to be used, less water can be used in agricultural areas and waste can be avoided. Dr. Necmettin Elmastaş underlined that the valuable resources that feed important lakes should not be irrigated randomly. He explained that when the drip system is used in the underground or above-ground water resources of the lands, less water will be consumed and thus important resources such as Van Lake can be fed efficiently.

Image: TRT Haber

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