September 13, 2021 - 15:25 AMT
Lake Van water levels keep dropping in Turkey

The shoreline of Lake Van, Turkey’s largest lake, has begun a steady retreat, and replenishing precipitation seems to no longer maintain the basin’s water levels, Hurriyet reports.

The water level in Lake Van, which has experienced the driest period of recent years according to the July temperature and precipitation assessment reports of the Meteorology Administration, has decreased disturbingly.

Microbialites, tall rock formations dating back thousands of years, have made a surprise appearance in the lake which is a popular destination for tourists and is home to a rich ecosystem following the retreat of the shoreline.

Making examinations in the Çelebibağ area of the eastern province of Van, where the water depth is shallower than the other shores of the lake, Mustafa Akkuş, a scientist from Yüzüncü Yıl University, said that the retreat in the region exceeded 1 kilometer.

Noting that there was a decrease of approximately three meters in the Çelibibağ area, Akkuş stated that such a massive recession has not been witnessed in the region for the last 80 years, citing the remarks of the local people.

The lake was the center of the Kingdom of Urartu from about mid-9th century, afterwards of the Satrapy of Armenia, Kingdom of Greater Armenia, and the Armenian Kingdom of Vaspurakan. Along with Lake Sevan in today's Armenia and Lake Urmia in present day Iran, Van was one of the three great lakes of the Armenian Kingdom.