For first-time visitors, the cracked land surrounding Lake Van may seem like a natural geographic feature. However, it is actually the latest sign of a nationwide drought worsened by the climate crisis. A wider basin that includes Turkey's largest lake and other water resources around it is suffering amid a severe drought nowadays, Daily Sabah reported.
With the declining rate of precipitation and evaporation aggravated by higher temperatures, a retreat in the water levels is visible. In some spots, water levels dropped by 3 meters and elsewhere, an area as large as 10 square km is depleted of water.
Professor Mustafa Akkuş, of Van Yüzüncü Yıl University's Faculty of Fisheries, warned that the drought's impact on the lake will only worsen. "We need proper water management to preserve and save both Van and other lakes doomed to drought. We need a correct and sustainable water policy," he stressed.
Akkuş said Lake Van is more fragile compared to other bodies of water. "All lakes and rivers across the country suffered from a decline in water levels tied to lack of precipitation. Lake Van is located in a closed basin, with no outlet of water to other areas," he noted. "There is a dynamic balance here. The only water input to Van is through precipitation, and water output is through evaporation. In recent years, the summer season has become longer and the winters are shorter. Therefore, evaporation is higher," he added, pointing out that for "each unit" of water the lake gained, it lost around "three units" of water.