Ohrid Lake Water Level Worryingly Low
Ohrid Lake level has not come back to normal for almost a month now. Along the entire coastline, both in Macedonia and Albania, it is noticeable that the water has retreated a few metres. Ohrid locals say this is not the first time for the water line to become lower, but it has never been so worryingly low.
That the lake is lowered, can be best seen where the dock is, as well as the old port in Ohrid. At some parts of the coastline the water has totally dried out, and you can literally jump from the dock because instead of water, you'll land on sand.
The situation is worrying at Sveti Naum, Elesec, and Pestani, as well. The water has retreated a few metres. The image from several weeks ago is quite different now. The water has retreated, so you can touch the canes straight from the beach.
But Ohrid Lake has not dried out only in Macedonia. It is the case in Albania as well. The situation is most alarming in the famous tourist town Pogradec. We noticed that the lake has retreated for about 20 metres there.
One week ago, on the line starting from Tusemiste, the first town you see after crossing the Macedonia-Albania border, to Pogradec, the water was retreated for about 40 metres, while the depth was 1.5 metres shallower.
Although the situation has been alarming for several weeks now, official information has not been released as to what brought about the changes to the water levels of the Ohrid Lake. The closure of the Struga Dam, where the waters of the Ohrid Lake flow into Crni Drim, had contributed to the improvement of the situation to a small extent and there has been minimal increase of the water levels.
In January, according to the Meteorological Bureau, the water levels were 15 cm below the average minimal natural level. On Tuesday, they inform, the level of the water was 1 cm above the allowed minimum.
Activists and ecologists maintain that the lake is drying up due to its use for production of electricity. They are worried that the situation can influence the biodiversity of the lake in a negative manner, and furthermore add that the oldest lake in Europe, protected by UNESCO, is under threat of an ecological disaster.
The "Crni Drim" Hydro-energy Flow, on the other hand, informs that the decreased water levels of the lake are due to the record-breaking drop in the flow-in of water in December and January.
In addition to this, they say that the level is expected to be on the rise in the upcoming period as a result of the increase of temperatures, the melting of snow in the nearby mountains and the forecast rain falls.