Shihwa Lake, RO Korea

Shihwa Lake, an artificial freshwater reservoir, is located 40km west of Seoul, RO Korea. The original purpose of using the lake for agricultural and industrial uses for Hwasung, Siheung and Ansan cities did not materialize. The water quality has become degraded due to pollution from industrial complexes and populated cities; it also resulted in destruction of traditional fishing activities and disintegration of coastal communities.

Lake Shihwa area is a typical site showing the deterioration of water quality as well as the destruction of coastal wetland due to large-scale dam construction and reclamation.

After the closing of the lake in 1994, the brackish lake suffered from severe eutrophication, and water quality became unfit even for irrigation purpose. Water pollution of the lake brought up social and environmental concerns, which led to project’s failure.

To mitigate water pollution, seawater circulation was allowed through the sluices since January 1999. The government finally scrapped the plan for making a freshwater reservoir in December 2000. Following the decision to manage the lake as a seawater body, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MOMAF) began to play a leading role in establishing its management plan. Lake Shihwa and its coastal area was designated as a special management area under the Marine Pollution Prevention Act, and the Comprehensive Management Plan for Lake Shihwa (hereafter Shihwa Action Plan) was formulated in August 2001 by MOMAF in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders.

Lake Shihwa was designated as a PEMSEA Parallel site in November 2000 to implement integrated coastal management. Lake Shihwa Program funded by MOMAF launched in 2003 to support the implementation of Shihwa Action Plan.