Lake Bardawil is a shallow lagoon on the northern coast of the Sinai connected to the Mediterranean Sea by two inlets. The inlets of the lake are subject to sedimentation and this results in limited seawater exchange. The lake was once 40 metres deep but is now approximately 1.5 metres deep. The shallowness of the lake results in high evaporation rates. In combination with little freshwater input, this causes the salt levels of the water to become extremely high.
The lake has had a traditionally important fishing industry. The fishing fleet that was vital for the local communities, is much depleted by the deterioration of the lake. The lake’s water quality and fish habitat have been greatly decreased and have led to a steady decline of available fish catch. Also, overfishing has led to further reductions in the fish population.
But we can do something to restore the lagoon. New physical interventions can be applied to restore the marine ecosystem and the fish population of Lake Bardawil. The main mechanism of improving the environmental conditions in the lake is to increase the water exchange with the Mediterranean Sea by stimulating the tidal influence.
Deepening the existing inlets in combination with other dedicated parts of the lake will lead to a significant increase of the fish population, noticeable in the first year and increasing over time. Sustainable fishing strategies will have to be applied simultaneously to avoid overfishing and provide time for the ecosystem in the lake to fully redevelop.
Potentially thousands of jobs can be created and many lives can be positively affected in a relatively short period of time by restoring the Lagoon’s ecological health.
Design & Research
The Weather Makers have carried out several studies in conjunction with DEME, Imares and the TUDelft. Hydrodynamic and morphodynamical modelling results have been thoroughly assessed by a wide range of experts. Ways of monitoring the impact of the interventions on the ecology have been studied in order to provide the tools to proactively steer the interventions to obtain the best results. Sustainable fishing strategies have been studied as well.