Lake Eğirdir - Turkey

 

Lake Egirdir is situated in the Isparta province, approx. 180 km in the north of Antalya. It is Turkey’s fourth largest lake and second largest freshwater body. The total size of the basin is 3,309 km², and the lake covers an area of 482 km². The lake lies approx. 917 meters above sea level and has an average depth of 14 meters.

 

Lake Egirdir, which is also known as the “Seven Colored Lake” as a result of its daily and seasonal differentiations in its color, is a wetland of international importance due to its distinctions as a Drinking Water Reservoir, Natural Protected Area and Important Bird Area.

It provides water for agriculture, household and industrial use, as well as tourism and energy production. Fishing has traditionally been an important means of livelihood for people living around the lake.

 

Lake Egirdir is mostly used for agricultural purposes. The main agriculture product is the apple. Isparta province has 20 % of the total production of apples which is 500,000 tones. Turkey covers 5 % of the total apple production and ranks 4th after China, USA and France.

Lake Egirdir gained Important Bird Area status due to it being home to so many different bird species like Pygmy Cormorant, Red Crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck and Eurasian Coot spending the winter at the lake. The Reed Cat and the Eurasian Otter are other important species in the area. The area, which has an “Important Plant Area” status, includes 127 taxa endemic to Turkey and 27 endangered taxa.

 

The main fish species caught in the lake is Pike-perch (Stizostedion lucioperca), which was introduced to the lake in 1955. Until the mid 1980’s, Lake Egirdir yielded the highest Crayfish (Astacus leptodactylus) catch in Turkey. Then the crayfish population collapsed and has nearly become extinct. The main reasons for this are fungal diseases, agricultural and domestic waste that reached the lake and enormous increase in pike-perch population as a result of overfishing of crayfish. Eight different native fish species have also become extinct with the introduction of pike-perch.

 

Threats / Problems and Challenges

A change in the indicators of water quality is observed and addresses pollution caused by agricultural, domestic and industrial usage. Besides an increase in biomass (sign of eutrophication) and a decrease in planktons and fish stocks is stated according to recent scientific studies. It is also put forward that the concentration of heavy metals increased.

The biggest threat is wastes created as a result of agricultural production. More specifically this happens as a result of the use of unnecessary pesticides and artificial fertilizers. These are often used during the wrong time and in the wrong dosage. This is devastating agricultural pollution and is a serious threat towards the lake.

 

Past and Recent WWF Activities

One of the activities was the creation and implementation of the “Egirdir Lake Management Plan”. This was prepared in order to prevent the deterioration of the lake. This plan sought to protect the biodiversity, fishery industry, and drinking water and also to protect the conservation-use balance. The preparation of the plan was initiated by Isparta Governorship and Province Directorate of Environment and Forestry.

 

“7 Colored Life to 7 Colored Lake Project” has been carried out by WWF-Turkey in collaboration with Siemens Home Appliances. A research has been done for examining the sources of pollution in the lake. In addition, a technical report has been prepared based on the results of this research. Another activity was the placement of solid waste containers. This has been done in a pilot village and it is being carried out in order to reduce the sources of pollution. Accompanying the placement of the containers are educational activities. There are trainings on environmental-friendly agricultural applications and preventing agricultural pollution and a field trip has been organized to an organic agricultural site.

 

There has been an activity dealt with pest control. The Bio-Technical Implementation on Pest Control Pilot Project increased pest control by 15 % and decreased pesticide usage by 20 %.

Another activity was the “Egirdir Lake Ecotourism Map” and sustainable tourism excursion. There also have been trainings organized to educate local people on how to be tourism guides and how to improve the guesthouses in the area. In this respect the Oluklaci Path has been restored.

 

Today, WWF-Turkey continues to carry out the “7 Colored Life to 7 Colored Lake Project” in cooperation with Siemens Home Appliances. Again taking the agricultural production into consideration, the project aims at reducing the impacts of agricultural production on Lake Egirdir. As a part of this, three pilot villages, which have a direct impact on the lake, have been identified and will shift its current agricultural practices to more environmental sustainable agricultural practices. As the basin stands out with its apple production, it is important to control pesticide and fertilizer use in the basin. Early warning systems, pesticide preparation units and the use of feromons will be installed in the village. Furthermore trainings will be held in the basin among farmers, women and children to raise awareness on the importance of Lake Egirdir.

 

WWF-Turkey wants to draw attention to apple production since it is the most important source of income for small scale farmers and also one of the main polluters of the lake. It is important to shift the production towards Good Agricultural Practices to increase income levels of farmers but also reduce the impact of apple production on the lake.

 Shoreline of Lake Egirdir
 The cultivation of apples is the most important agricultural production.
 Fishery activities on Lake Egirdir are also very important for the livelihood.
 Landscape around Lake Egirdir
Photo: Ayca Aksoy
 

WWF-Turkey
Contact person: Ayça Aksoy
Büyükpostane cad. No: 19 Garanti Han Kat: 5
341420 Bahçekapı İstanbul
Turkey
Phone: +90 (212) 528 20 30
Fax: +90 (212) 528 20 40
E-mail: aaksoy@wwf.org.tr
Webpage: www.wwf.org.tr