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Lake Tana Environmental Issues, Ethiopia, and Dust Over Red Sea

12.1N 37.4E

January 30th, 2013 Category: Dust Storms, Lakes

Ethiopia – January 28th, 2013

Some dust can be seen blowing off the coast of Eritrea and over the Red Sea, towards the Dahlak Archipelago. Further south, in Ethiopia, the bright green waters of Lake Tana can be observed. The lake, which is the largest in Ethiopia and the main source of the Blue Nile, is under severe environmental threat from deforestation, soil and water erosion, sedimentation, increasing demand for water, pollution, and climate change.

Threats to Lake Tana and its catchment area have serious implications for environmental and human security in Ethiopia and raise other ecological and cultural questions as well. Lake Tana is the largest fresh water body in Ethiopia, accounting for 50 percent of the total inland waters in the country. The lake provides livelihood to over 3 million people living around it, as well as food security, and is a significant source of hydropower.

Changes in the lake and its watershed also have important international implications. A decrease in the quantity or quality of the outflow from Lake Tana may impact, the downstream riparian countries along the Nile, who rely heavily on these water resources for much of their agricultural production.

Ecologically, the lake area includes substantial wetlands, which provide a wide variety of ecosystem services, including habitat for fish and bird species, regulation of water flow, and mitigation of climate variability. All of these would be threatened by environmental degradation (click here for more information).

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