Karla, the lake that was reconstituted after its drying up in 1962. Then it was deemed necessary to drain it because it was causing floods in the crops that were around the lake and also because of malaria cases despite the relevant studies that did not foresee such a thing. The original size of the lake was 180-195,000 acres and its depth from 4 to 6 meters. Its current size is 38,000 acres and is 1/5 of its former size.
Its name in ancient times was Boibiis and it abounded in fish. Known to many in the past, Carla’s fish.
Visitors to the Exhibition Center (Karlas Museum) have the opportunity to experience the natural environment of Lake Karla and Montenegro (flora, fauna, ecosystems) and its long-term interaction with human presence, which led to the development of the region’s unique culture Lake Karlas and Montenegro.
Information Center in Stefanovikio Magnesia for individual visitors and groups of visitors after consultation with the Secretariat of the Management Body (every day from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on the phone 2428073856).
In the Information Center, with the help of the most modern supervisory means, all the technical works for the creation of the Carla Reservoir are presented, as well as the process of re-establishing the lake ecosystem so far.
In 1959, a study was commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture for the utilization of the Karla plain, with the construction of a 64,700-acre reservoir, tunnel and ditches for lowland waters. The lake would be used for irrigation with irrigation canals and would be fed with waters from Pinios. Instead, however, a tunnel was finally built for the complete evacuation of the lake, which began in January 1957 and was completed in October 1962.
With the drying up of the lake, the dire consequences of not completing the project as planned with the construction of the 64,700-acre reservoir were seen.
These impacts are environmental as well as social:
Precipitous decline in underground aquifers
Entry of the sea front into the wider area of the Karla area
Pollution and effects in the closed Pagasitic Gulf and occurrence of phytoplankton
Occurrence of deep faults and destruction of buildings
Effects on the fauna and flora of the area
Destruction of wells and drying up of springs including the Hyperion Fountain in Velestino
Changes in the microclimate of the area
Inability to supply water to cities and settlements
As characteristically reported by the local press: “The construction of the tunnel was not a crime, it was a crime that they did not proceed with the restoration of the lake as originally planned”. Even the fields that came from the drying of Karla, an area of about 78,000 hectares, did not yield the expected benefits, as they flooded with the first downpour. In addition, the salts that had accumulated on the ground from the former lake did not favor crops. Finally, there was never a distribution of agricultural land while the landless cultivators leased the lands every year at a corresponding price.
The result of all the above, and after strong protests by the local population, was the construction of a 42,000-acre reservoir in the lower part of the former Lake Karla near the village of Kanalia. Also, for the management of the reservoir and the surrounding areas of particular environmental importance, the Management Body of the Ecodevelopment Area of Karla – Mavrovouniou – Kefalovryssou – Velestino (P.O.Ka.Ma.Ke.Ve.) was created. The results of this operation are expected to be:
The rise of the underground water table and the restoration of the water potential
Limiting the exhausting pumping of underground aquifers with water supply for irrigation
The improvement of water quality
Protection of Pagasitikos Bay due to the anti-flood purpose of the reservoir and improvement of overflow waters
Retreat of the seawater front that has penetrated the soil layer of the Pagasitic and affected the aquifers
Partial restoration of the microclimate of the area
Partial restoration of the flora and fauna of the area