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Lake Haramaya, gone foreverWhen I was a child the things that made me cry the most were those I felt unable to control, to change, to do something about. That feeling of impotence of being just a child with no physical power, no money, no influence in the world. Nothing I could do, just watch events develop in front of my eyes…
Sometimes I feel the same when I watch irremediable damage done to nature, it makes me so sad. I try to preserve the natural world around me, but that’s just a grain of sand, so small…
Drying Lake Abiyata Among all the irreversible changes that are happening around the world and also in Ethiopia, are the lakes that are vanishing forever from the face of the Earth.
Many of those lakes, are already lost. Lakes which provided water and food for animals and people alike, are no longer there, just a dry depression in the land is left as a reminder that not so long ago something was there…
One of those lakes was Lake Haramaya, in the Harar region. Once an important big provider of water and food, it is now just a memory. Lake Haramaya went fast and many more are following it, like Lake Abiyata and Lake Ziway, both in the Rift Valley region.Lake Ziway What is the cause of these lakes shrinking until they vanish completely? The same reasons that we already know: climate change, erosion, population increase, overuse of the lake by industries and farmers and lack of government policies to protect the environment.
Not only the lakes are drying up, also their water quality is changing making it hard for wildlife to survive in what’s left of these lakes. Many birds are migrating to neighbor countries like Kenya to find a better habitat to live. And we just watch the lakes evaporate.
When these lakes disappear all of us lose, but specially the local population who lives from them. We must reach a balance between nature and human use, the problem is that time is short. For Lake Haramaya, time has already ran out… no more fish, no more birds, no more children playing in the water.
I don’t have the answers and the means to stop the problem, so I just watch like when I was a child and hope that someone listens.

Lake Haramaya. A warming world, overuse drain giant lake in a single generation
Some Improper Water Resources Utilization Practises and Environmental Problems in the Ethiopian Rift (.pdf)
Recent changes in the level of Lake Abiyata, central main Ethiopian Rift (.pdf)
Climate Change Impact on Lake Ziway Watershed Water Availability, Ethiopia (.pdf)


Climate and Africa
Climate Change and Africa by Pak Sum Low
Freshwater Ecoregions of Africa and Madagascar: A Conservation Assessment (World Wildlife Fund Ecoregion Assessments) by Various authors