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Activists and Academics from 10 Countries are Meeting in Burdur/Turkey

 on 17-18 September for Drying Lakes

Anatolia is rapidly drying. In the last 60 years, our wetlands as large as almost 2 million hectares were either dried up or left to dry up. This area is much larger than the area of Marmara Sea in Turkey. More than 3 billion carboys are required to store the amount of water Burdur Lake in the South Mediterranean Region of Turkey lost last year. Water level in Konya Basin of Central Anatolia is dropping by 1,5 meters every year.

The situation is no different in other parts of the world. Once the fourth largest lake of the world, Aral Lake, is now a huge desert. Kenya’s Turkana Lake – the cradle of human civilization – is facing drying up due to the dam projects on the Omo River which flows into the lake. Lake Urmia, the largest lake of the Middle East, has lost 60 percent of its area while one third of the Dead Sea already dried up.

According to NASA, between 2003 and 2010, parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran lost 144 cubic kilometers of total stored freshwater. That is almost the amount of water in the Dead Sead. The Middle East currently has the second fastest rate of groundwater storage loss on Earth, after India.

The reasons why lakes dry up in Turkey and in the world are the same: agricultural policies based on high-water consumption and dam policies that intervene in the natural water cycle. On the contrary, it is possible to keep our lakes alive. The alternative to these policies, in other words the way to keep our wetlands – particularly lakes – alive, is growing low-water-consuming plants that are suitable to the region, utilizing wise irrigation methods and most importantly – keeping in mind that lakes need water like other living beings – not preventing rivers’ flow into lakes by building dams on rivers.

Within the framework of its“Saving Burdur Lake Project”, Doğa Derneği (BirdLife Turkey) is organizing the “International Gathering on Saving Drying Lakes” on 17-18 September 2013 in Burdur/Turkey, with the support of Vaillant.  The aim of this international meeting is to share and exchange knowledge and experience on the reasons and results of drying of lakes, as well as on worldwide action to save and restore drying lakes. 19 speakers (academics, public officials and NGO representatives) from 10 countries in Central Asia, Middle East, Balkans and Africa, including Turkey, are attending the meeting which will last for 2 days.

In the meeting, threats against world’s famous lakes which are facing drying up such as Turkana Lake (Kenya), Lake Urmia (Iran), Dead Sea (Jordan-Israel), Aral Lake (Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan), Koroneia Lake (Greece) will be shared along with best practices in saving lakes as exemplified in wetlands such as Hula Lake (Israel), Sevan Lake (Armenia), Siranguli (Iran), Mesopotamian Marshes (Iraq). In the last session of the meeting a roundtable will be held to discuss regional cooperation to save lakes.

We, who have come together to keep alive lakes and the life that evolves with them, are inviting all friends of nature to attend the International Gathering on Saving Drying Lakes.

No lake, no life.

International Gathering on Saving Drying Lakes

17-18 September 2013

Mehmet Akif Ersoy University Convention and Exhibition Center

Burdur/Turkey

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