Sunday, January 24, 2016

Disappearing Lakes

When you're young you think that you're going to sail into a lovely lake of quietude and peace. This is profoundly untrue. ~ Doris Lessing
Hope you don't like lakes because many are disappearing from the face of the Earth.

Dead Sea and Sea of Galilee
Two of the most famous bodies of water in history are rapidly shrinking mostly due to drought and the diversion of the Jordan River to irrigation. The water level in the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret) has dropped so low that water has to be pumped up hill into the Jordan River or that historic tourist attraction would be a dry wash now. As for the Dead Sea, in just fifty years the water level has dropped by over 100 feet and the surface area has shrunk by 40%.

Lake Chad
One upon a time (fifty years ago) Lake Chad was the third largest lake in Africa. Since then it has shrunk by 95%. Human consumption, over 30 million people live in the basin that drains into Lake Chad, and rapid desertification of the region are the main culprits.

Aral Sea
This was once the fourth largest lake in the world. It had a large fishing fleet tapping what seemed like an inexhaustible resource. Then came the Soviet Union. The Soviet government declared the lake worthless and diverted most of its water sources to growing cotton. Now it is four small salt lakes that, combined, amount to less than 20% of its former grandeur. Winds blowing across the naked lake bed kick up massive clouds of toxic chemicals and salts that kill both crops and children.

Great Lakes
In 2013 this dock on Lake Huron was 150 yards from the water.
Not now, but in the future the Great Lakes may be the big story of disappearing lakes. Twenty percent of the free flowing fresh water on Earth are in the Great Lakes and, in the last couple of decades, they have been getting smaller. So far, the drop is a few dozen inches not the several score feet of the previous lakes. Last year saw a, perhaps brief, return of lake levels. Some of the blame is being laid on the dredging of St. Clair River to accommodate freighter traffic that has accelerate the outflow of water from Lake Huron. Add in diversions and climate change and nobody knows what the future of these lakes will be.

1 comment:

syed shuja said...

You haven't really discussed about every single lake in the world just a select few. For example: I live in Pakistan and there are plenty of lakes especially in the Northern areas like Saif-ul-Mulook, Rawal lake, Lulusar lake etc which are preserved in their native state to this day. You can't make sweeping statements about the state of lakes in the world by giving few examples.