LAKE KORONEIA, Greece - Thousands of freshwater fish, mostly carp, have been found dead around Lake Koroneia, where the water level has fallen dramatically to just 60-80 cm.
"From 2.80 to three metres, which was the depth of the lake until five or six years ago, we have now reached a few centimetres due to drought and lack of maintenance of the infrastructure that feeds into the water supply in Koroneia," the President of the Management Organisation of Koroneia, Volvi and Halkidiki, Dimitra Bombori, said to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA).
"We have returned to the past difficult times, when a significant reduction in water combined with high temperatures resulted in high fish mortality," Bombori explained.
Technical works carred out in 2012 had helped restore the lake's communication with streams that replenished the lake and the fish population had grown significantly, with eight to nine species observed, she noted.
In addition to the current drought, an important role in reducing lake levels was the blocking, with debris and by reeds, of the canal created to divert water from two gullies into the lake and of the sluice gates, which are opened occasionally to channel water to Koroneia, and have not been maintained.
According to Bombori, replenishing the water level of the lake largely depends on the hydrological conditions but also the maintenance work that has not been done, because no manager has been appointed to claim the funds required.
It should be noted that a few days ago, Environment and Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis visited the area accompanied by the Environment and Water secretary general Konstantinos Arabosis and was briefed on the progress of a master plan for restoring the lake.
Hatzidakis had announced a simpler system for these protected areas, so that there is a coordinator and direct funding from the environment ministry of all biological wastewater treatment plants around Koroneia, in order to keep the lake alive.