Heat and drought have has caused the level of central Europe’s biggest lake to drop to around 50 centimetres, the lowest for nine years.
Lake Balaton in Hungary is a favourite destination for tourists.
“We must be under no illusions”, says Peter Fekete from the Hungarian Sailing Association. “If this goes on Balaton will not be sustainable without additional water from elsewhere.The public should be made aware of this.”
At the moment boats are still able to sail on the lake, just. But sailors are complaining about getting stuck in mud and not being able to approach the banks. The problem is also threatening the lake as a competition venue.
“We won’t be able to hold several racing events because the boats won’t be able to get into the harbours”, says boat builder Lajos Cittel.
Although the level is low, it is not as bad as in 2003, and experts say there is no real environmental threat.
“From the point of view of the lake’s life and ecological conditions, this is not a worrying phenomenon. Such water levels have been recorded several times in the history of the lake”, says professor Lajos Voros from Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
In the meantime the tourists will just have to content themselves with paddling around and enjoying the heatwave.