Lake Basaka growth, Ethiopia

18 Jan 1985 - 10 Jan 2011

Lake Basaka in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia has expanded greatly during the past 35 years, raising the groundwater table and increasing the salinity of water reserves. That salinity has impacted local sugarcane production, a major source of income for the region, and many agricultural fields have been abandoned. While the cause of the lake's expansion is still being studied, a likely cause is the discharge of excess irrigation water directly into the lake.

Images taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor onboard Landsat 5. Source: USGS Landsat Missions Gallery, "Lake Basaka, Ethiopia," U.S. Department of the Interior / U.S. Geological Survey.