Lake Tuz (Salt Lake) is the second largest lake in Turkey with its 1,665 km2 surface area and one of the largest hypersaline in the world.
Despite its huge area for most of the year is very shallow, especially during dry summer months when the water evaporates in huge quantities leaving a thick crust of salt on the surface up to 30 centimeters. This salt is extracting, working, refining, and sold in the local market, thus making this the biggest industry for small towns’ economies in the area. It’s not only the biggest salt lake in Turkey but one of the biggest in the world as well. The lake has no outlet, and only a few surface streams feed it but they dry in the summer when the climate is hot. Rainfall in the surrounding area is as low as 250 millimeters per year.
Lately, Salt Lake is in great danger because of industrial pollution and wrong usage of under and over groundwaters. This is threatening the lake itself but also fauna and the flora of the area, which will definitely have a negative effect on the local inhabitants around the lake. Therefore WWF (World Wildlife Foundation) of Turkey came up with the Salt Lake Pilot Project which is currently supporting the Authority for the Specially Protected Areas (ASPA) in their responsibility to conserve and rehabilitate the unique ecosystems of Salt Lake area. Together with ASPA (Özel Çevre Koruma Kurumu in Turkish), the basis for an Integrated Conservation Management Plan for the south-western part of Tuz Lake will be developing. ASPA, the main Authority in Tuz Lake, is integrating their own study to the Tuz Lake Pilot Project in terms of specific activities, like hydrological modeling and stakeholder meetings, so as to achieve the common purpose; Tuz Lake Integrated Conservation Management Plan.