Water levels in domestic lakes have risen significantly thanks to the wet weather in recent weeks. In fact, the water level at Lake Balaton has risen to the point where some of it needs to be lowered. The level of Lake Velence has also risen a lot, but it could still use some replenishment. Lake Fertő also has a lot more water than it did a few weeks ago, which was necessary because the wildlife was already threatened.
The average water level of Lake Balaton has exceeded the regulatory level of 120 centimeters, so water releases began at 8 a.m. on Tuesday to protect some southern coastal settlements, the National Water Directorate General told MTI.
The authority noted that the water level of Hungary’s largest lake is generally lowered by evaporation due to the warm weather, which is why the water level typically drops by a few centimeters in May.
However, this year, due to cooler than average weather and more rainfall, the average water level rose by six centimeters in May, and then by a further four cm in the first two weeks of June.
As a result, this summer season will not only start with a minimum of a 17 cm higher water level, but the typical low water level will also set in more than one month later than usual.
Photo: MTI/Vasvári Tamás
On the southern shore of Lake Balaton, the shorelines and drainage systems of many municipalities are vulnerable to high water levels. A sustained north/north-westerly wind can cause strong surges, which can cause severe flooding in the deeper southern areas, the authority warned. They added that taking all this into account, it had become necessary to reduce the water level, also given the limited capacity of the Sió river, which can only drain large amounts of water over a longer period without damaging the canal and coastal areas.
The situation on Lake Venice, just 50 kilometers from Budapest, is also much better now than last summer.
The lake, which has always been shallow, had not been in such a critical state for 83 years as it was last year when the water level dropped to 61 centimeters and dried up in several places.
Photo: MTI/Vasvári Tamás
This year, however, the water level has risen by almost 30 centimeters in the last three months because of the wet weather. The lake is now at 109 centimeters, which although encouraging, is still below average.
Lake Fertő, at the western tip of Hungary, most of which belongs to Austria, is also in much better condition this year.
The level of this lake also dropped dramatically last year due to low rainfall, but after a rainy spell in May this year, the water level rose by 30 centimeters. However, experts say that at least another half meter is needed to reach optimum levels and ensure the safety of wildlife.
People at Lake Tisza have no complaints either, partly because this lake in the eastern part of the country is deliberately regulated seasonally.
The water level is 650 centimeters in the winter and 735 centimeters in the summer. The water level of the lake is kept within this range throughout the summer, as it is beneficial for both the lake’s wildlife and tourism.