Social media are full of photos witnessing critical condition of Lake Kizil-Yar located 10 km from Saky in occupied Crimea. The lake belongs to the group of Yevpatoria’s salt lakes and faces the same problems as almost all other Crimean water bodies. The North Crimean Canal and the Mizhhirne Reservoir, which supplied Kyzyl-Yar with fresh water, are already empty, which naturally influences the lake. ‘Now it’s a dull and desolate landscape. Although there is still enough water in the lake, because of hunters and planned transfer of the reservoir to fish farmers, we might as well forget this abundance of wild birds and animals quite soon’, Crimeans write on social media.

Occupation authorities do not respond to the problem.

The warm winter with minimum level of precipitation have shrunk many rivers and lakes on the peninsula; some water bodies have turned into puddles.

The lake used to be 3.7 metres at its deepest and to cover an area of 8 square kilometres. This water body is unique because its bottom layers are saline, but closer to the surface the water is fresh. Kyzyl-Yar means ‘red cliff’ in Tatar. The lake was formed approximately 6,000 years ago.

It should be reminded that the North Crimean Canal used to supply 85% of water to Crimea. The supply was cut off on 3 May 2014 following Russia’s occupation of the peninsula. Ukraine officially states there are no intentions to resume water supply. The Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea says Ukraine will supply water to annexed Crimea only after de-occupation.