Home > Climate change, Ecology > Lake Abiyata drying up

Lake Abiyata drying up

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We might say goodbye to one of the most famous Ethiopian rift valley lakes soon. Lake Abiyata, which lies 200 kilometers south of Addis Ababa and often glimmered pink with flamingos, is declining rapidly due the damming of rivers and soda ash production. “The lake is among the most endangered of the lakes. Its gradual demise is recorded in a concentric series of old shorelines, obvious on the ground,” say environmental experts.
Lake Abiyata (locally known as Hora Kunni) is the shallowest of the rift valley lakes. It occupies a very flat depression, bounded to the west and east by small fault scarps. Its waters are more are appreciably more soda-rich than those of Langano. This expresses the fact that Lake Abiyata has no outlet, and evaporation continues to concentrate the soda. At present the lake’s maximum depth is about 7 meters, but this is decreasing as the lake shrinks.
“The shrinking is partly the result of climate, but is exacerbated by soda extraction,” said Frances Williams and Paul Mohr who worked in the department of Geology of Addis Ababa University.A soda-ash plant operating at the northern end of the lake is also harming the delicate water body. It evaporates lake water in isolated pools to precipitate out dissolved sodium carbonate, it was said.
The experts warn that the lake could be dried out in the next two to four years if no action is taking. The government has yet to take a position on the future of the lake.

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  1. March 24, 2013 at 4:51 pm | #1

    I’ve had a discussion with a park ranger when I went there recently and I found some of his infos interesting. He told me that the soda ash factory is owned by Shiek Alamudin, the over-protected son the regime and he said that the federal government once financed a study, hiring a European specialist to assess the factory’s impact on the lake. The so-called specialist came up with the odd report that the soda ash extraction isn’t doing not so much harm to the lake, though everyone know that the factory draining the lakes water. The information I have the park is drastically underfunded and can’t even train staffers, let alone alert the public to its existence.

  2. Rahel Heruy
    April 15, 2013 at 3:58 am | #2

    If development mesured with out enviromental conservation.It is better living poor.

  3. Getachew
    July 2, 2013 at 8:41 am | #3

    I VISITED THE ABIYATA LAKE 30 YEARS AGO , WHEN I HAVE BEEN A STUDENT AT WONDO GENET COLLAGE OF FORESTRY. I VISITED THE LAKE WITH MY FRIENDS FOR THE SECOND TIME A WEEK AGO .EVERYTHING HAVE BEEN COMPLETELY CHANGED I.E THE ACACIA WOOD LAND HAVE BEEN DESTROYED AND CHANGED TO FARMLAND AND GRAZING LAND. THE AREA COVERED BY THE LAKE HAVE BEEN SHRINKED. THERE ARE NO FLAMINGOES AND FEW PELICANS.BECAUSE THE FOOD CHAINS HAVE BEEN INTERUPTED.I CAME TO THE CONCLUSION, THAT WE WILL LOSE THE ABIYATA LAKE VERY SOON.CRY TO SAVE ABIYATA!

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