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Cerknica Lake dry for first time in 18 years

Cerknica, 17 September - Cerknica Lake is Slovenia's largest natural lake when full, but this September the intermittent lake is completely dry for the first time in 18 years. It will take a lot of rain to fill it up again.

Cerknica
Slovenia's largest intermittent lake, Lake Cerknica, dry in September for the first time in 18 years.
Photo: STA

Cerknica
A meadow by Lake Cerknica, Slovenia's largest intermittent lake.
Photo: STA

"Official measurements show we have had about 30% of the normal amount of rain for this time of year by today," Dejvid Tratnik of the Notranjsko Regional Park said on Thursday before rain clouds made their way into the country.

While there should be at least some of the lake visible at this time of year, the water level has dropped to as low as 22 metres below the ground level, one of the lowest watermarks ever since cavers have been doing official measurements.

"You can imagine how much rain it will take for the water level to rise at least to the bottom of the lake," said Tratnik.

The drought threatens the animal species living in and near the lake, so every time when the lake is dry fishermen are rescuing fish, crabs, amphibians and the offspring of grebes who are not yet capable of flying away.

Due to attempts in the past to dry it out, the lake eventually started going out several times a year. As a result of human activity, the flora and fauna species typical for the area started disappearing.

The populations of native fish species such as pikes are shrinking by the year. To restore their living environment, efforts are under way to re-establish the dynamics of seasonal variations in the lake as it was 200 years ago.

One such was renaturating the Str┼żen stream, a process that was successfully completed at the end of August.

"We filled up a canal that was dug up 90 years ago and restored natural pathways of water so as to keep water in the lake for at least some time and provide extra water for fish and other aquatic life," said Tratnik.

ep/zm
© STA, 2021