Recreation of Lake Karla!

The largest environmental project in the Balkans is being implemented by the Region of Thessaly at Lake Karla. This is a local development project of national importance, with multiple benefits for Thessaly, the region where the Lake is situated, and broader growth.

The major benefits expected from this project are:

  • The enhancement of the water supply to the broader region of Volos with high-quality subterranean water. The replacement of the use of subterranean water of the region for irrigation with water from Lake Karla enables the utilisation of part of this water, through new boring projects, for the supply of water to the Urban Complex of Volos, which is currently facing a lack of high-quality water (the greater area of Volos is forced to meet its needs by using water containing chlorides).
  • The partial restoration of the ecosystem (which existed before the lake was drained), through the recreation of the lake and the creation of the planned wetlands and plant ecosystems around it.
  • The recovery of the level of the subterranean groundwater by reducing extractions, which will be achieved by replacing the use of subterranean water for irrigation with water from the lake being created.
  • The minimisation of the contribution of the Lake Karla catchment area effluents to the pollution of the Pagasetic Gulf, with the collection of effluents in the lake. Following the creation of the lake, the use of the Karla tunnel for removing water from the Karla catchment area to the Pagasetic Gulf will only take place in the case of intense of extended flooding, when the anti-flooding functioning of the artificial lake is no longer possible.
  • The gradual improvement of the quality and increase of the usable quantity of surface water, through the construction of the dam and the cleaning of leachates from the irrigation of crops using natural processes (wetland for leachate cleaning).
  • The improvement of soil quality. The proposed project will result in improvement of the physical and chemical properties of the soil in the broader region. More specifically:

The concentration of effluents of the closed Karla catchment area in the lake being created ensures the anti-flooding protection of lowland areas and conditions for good soil drainage, which will contribute towards improving soil quality.
The reduction of groundwater pumping is expected to result in gradual eradication of the causes of the cracking and subsidence currently observed due to increased pumping throughout the region.
The provision of adequate quantities of high-quality surface water for irrigation (water with low salinity and alkalinity levels) and the achievement of good drainage conditions in the region will achieve restoration of the pathogenic factors for the soil currently observed in the area around the lake being created (saline soil and, in places, alkali soil).

  • The environmental upgrading of the broader region, flora and fauna, with the support of wildlife and particularly migratory avifauna.
  • The effective protection of the broader region from flooding, as it is situated at point of lowest elevation in the plains of Thessaly.
  • The support of (permanent and seasonal) relocation to the region. The project will contribute towards reversing the population shrinkage of the region and attracting visitors through the creation of eco-tourism and recreation projects.
  • The creation of infrastructure and favourable conditions for the realisation of new activities and employment opportunities that are compatible with sustainable growth (fisheries, eco-tourism).
  • The expected change to the micro-climate of the region (lower temperatures in the summer, higher temperatures in the winter).
  • The upgrading of the aesthetics of the landscape.

The major project 'Recreation of Lake Karla' began being financed in September 1999 and was initially included in the 3rd CSF 2000-2006 and subsequently as a bridge project in the NSRF 2007-2013.
The total expenditure for the project comes to €245,000,000.