In the past 35 years Lake Basaka, located in the Middle Awash River Basin, Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia, has greatly expanded and the expansion has affected regional land use. While the exact cause of the expansion remains under study, a likely cause is the discharging of irrigation excesses directly into the lake.
The growing lake has caused a rise in the groundwater table and has increased the salinity in water reserves. That salinity has affected regional sugarcane production, a major source of income for the region, and many agricultural fields have been abandoned.
Landsat satellite data, acquired in 1985 and 2011, illustrate the expansion of the lake and the change in regional land cover. The Landsat data are being used by the United Nations and by regional officials to assess the negative effects on crop production and to study the cause of the lake.s expansion.