Lake Dojran/Doirani

Lake Dojran/Doirani is a small (total area 43.1 sq km) tectonic lake, with a basin of 272 sq km. The lake is shared by the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (27.4 sq km) and Greece (15.7 sq km). The lake is rich with fish – 16 species.

Pressures, status and transboundary impacts

Lake Dojran/Doirani has been affected by quantity decrease and quality reduction since the early 1990s due to activities in both countries, such as water abstraction and municipal wastewater disposal. Water abstraction has also been a pressure factor for the underlying aquifer, resulting in the decline of groundwater levels.

The situation was aggravated by the low precipitation in the period 1989-1993, and high evaporation rates in the lake basin. Over the last 20 years, the lake’s level has also dropped continuously due to increasing Greek abstraction, mainly for irrigation purposes. The most extreme water level and water volume decrease have occurred since 1988; from 262 × 106 cu m in 1988, the volume decreased to 80 × 106 cu m in 2000.

Pollution is caused by municipal wastewater, municipal solid wastes, sewage from tourist facilities, and agricultural point source and non–point source pollution; its impacts are felt in both countries.

Water quality is characterized by high alkalinity and elevated carbonate and magnesium hardness. Additionally, concentrations of certain toxic substances are near or even beyond toxic levels. In Greece, there are high values of phosphates; low concentrations of heavy metals have been observed in the aquifer.

In recent years, the lake has been struggling for survival. Since 1988, because of the decrease in water level and volume, according to biologists over 140 species of flora and fauna have disappeared. The water level has dropped 1.5 m below its permitted hydro-biological minimum.

Responses

The lake, in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, is being recharged by water coming from the Gjavato wells through a pumping and transfer system that has a capacity of 1 cu m/s; the “Feasibility study on Dojran lake salvation” project was financed by the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy in 2001.