BAHRAIN’S only natural lake could be turned into a protected natural park under parliamentary moves to make it an eco-friendly tourist destination.
Area MP Dr Abdulla Al Thawadi has proposed that Al Luzi Lake be turned into a leisure destination – with ferries, water rides, floating restaurants and cafés, and merchandise outlets adding to the attraction.
The lake is home to thousands of migrating birds, besides other wildlife and marine species.
“The water is stagnant but fortunately it has not harmed life in the lake,” Dr Al Thawadi told the GDN. “The water flow problem, however, should have been resolved through special filtration and circulation equipment, which is long overdue.
“The move should be part of a massive project that turns the lake into a proper protected natural park, where people can enjoy their time and facilities.
“We are suggesting the introduction of ferries and water rides for visitors, even floating restaurants and cafés, besides other attractions, with all these suggestion offered right away to bidders and operators.”
People living close to the lake breathed a sigh of relief back in October 2019 after suffering flooding issues for months.
The lake had been split into two bodies of water, one of which had no overflow protection – causing water levels to rise occasionally and burst its banks. A simple solution was found by removing a separation barrier, meaning excess water drained effectively.
Dannat Al Luzi Housing Town, which surrounds the lake, was inaugurated in February last year. The new town consists of 303 houses along with a commercial centre and a walkway overlooking the lake.
“There are multiple housing and investment projects earmarked for the lake’s surroundings over the next decade besides those already under construction, or in the pipeline,” added Dr Al Thawadi. “The lake should be part of the area’s eco-friendly concept and activity on it will ensure it becomes an integral part of people’s lives.
“No one cares about a fenced bay of water when they can’t really enjoy it. We don’t want the bay to one day end up being reclaimed and just appear in history books and this where public attachment comes in handy.
The lake was previously reduced in size to allow work on a government housing project, with homes built in partnership with the private sector.
It has been described as a health hazard due to a lack of fresh water, but Northern Municipal Council vice-chairman and area councillor Yaseen Zainal said lab tests conducted by the Health Ministry in May 2019 found it was better than first thought.
However, Mr Zainal added new filters were still required to maintain a healthy ecosystem.
“Though the lake is not connected to the sea, it contains fish and other marine creatures. This proves that the water is fresh for the time being and needs to be kept it good condition, with necessary filters and circulation equipment installed.”
The suggestion does not wash with everyone as the body of water has its opponents. Parliament public utilities and environment affairs committee chairman MP Mohammed Buhamood describes it as a ‘swamp’ and believes it should be filled in.
“The lake has no connection to the sea or any other bay of water nearby. It is stagnant. Anyone can bring in small fish, put them there for a day and take photographs to show things are all right.
“I don’t know why the government still insists on calling it a lake officially on maps, when clearly it is a swamp. Most of it has already gone to the Housing Ministry for housing projects in partnership with the private sector.
“The whole lake should be used for the same purpose, rather than kept in the useless state it is in at the moment.”
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