Concern over shrinking salt lake in Romania

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By Diana Sobaru
Drought is being blamed for shrinking Lake Techirghiol
Drought is being blamed for shrinking Lake Techirghiol   -   Copyright  Vadim Ghirda/AP

Lake Techirghiol is the largest saline lake in Romania, but the water has now receded by about 50 metres.

There are concerns that this year's recent drought is threatening Lake Techirghiol. It's known for its mineralised salty water and mud, which is used for health purposes. The creation of the lake's special 'black gold', nevertheless, hasn't been affected.

Tens of thousands of tourists from the country and abroad visit every year for its salt water and mud treatments.

Tourists have noticed the lack of water at other lakes too. "I was also at a sale lake," remarked one tourist. "It has dried up too, in Brăila. This is nature’s way."

Another tourist thought it to be the way of nature. "The water level was up to the stones, and there was no dried-up mud. It was extraordinary. It’s receding because nature made it like this."

Adrian Bîlbă is a scientist and General Manager at the Dolphinarium in Constanta. "The mud is harvested from the deep areas of the lake, and it takes several years to produce", Bîlbă explained. 

"The area where the therapeutic mud is harvested takes several years for the mineralisation process, so it's not the case that it's influenced by a certain summer. Probably in the spring, we will see the waters returning here. It is not certain, but it is possible."

Experts are pointing their fingers to global warming as the main culprit. Nonetheless, Carmen Oprea, Director of Care Servies at Techirghiol Balneary Cure Centre, said that the quality and the quantity of the mud won't be affected.

"Following the clinical examinations that the attending physicians perform, we haven't noticed that the mud therapy hasn't had the expected result on our patients," she stated.

Lake Techirghiol stretches over a 10-square kilometre area, and its maximum depth is 9 metres in open waters, which is where the mud is extracted.