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Lake Zakher: The Accidental Man Made Lake in the UAE

Travelers Today       By    Lena Vazifdar

Updated: Mar 18, 2013 06:46 PM EDT

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Lake Zakher in the United Arab Emirates is an accidental man made lake. The lake was created in the middle of the desert, unintentionally from the UAE's water management practices and CNN reported that there is a divide on opinions of the lake on the ecosystem.

The lake occurred because of the desalination system in the UAE, reported CNN. The region relies on it for fresh water because of the lack of fresh water in the region. Salt water is desalinized for use. "Desalination started here 50 years ago," said Corrado Sommariva, president of the International Desalination Association to CNN. "There wouldn't be any development of the industry or society if there was no desalination."

Huw Roberts who is a birdwatcher and university lecturer said to CNN, "This is one of the best sites in the UAE for birds, It's a good habitat for wintering birds and birds on passage."

He believes the lake has provided an oasis for the birds and has become an ideal area for bird watchers where flamingos and herons come the area to feed off the water source, which is rare in the desert.

However others believe that the lake is an ecological mistake.

"This lake to me is a bit of an ecological disaster because we really don't understand how it's affecting all the various species that do live naturally within this environment," . Brigitte Howarth who is an ecologist at Zayed University in the UAE said to CNN."If you suddenly create an artificial situation, where many other species benefit, it is the species that have been here for millions of years that then suffer."

CNN reported that 45 percent of recycled waste water was discharged at sea or released on land and it had been pushing up the groundwater levels, eventually creating Lake Zakher.

"I'd be very disappointed if Zakher Lake disappeared," added Roberts to CNN. "I'm hoping it doesn't."

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