Azerbaijan, Baku, September 12 /Trend, N. Umid /
The newly appointed head of Iran's Environmental Protection Organization, Masoumeh Ebtekar said that, saving Lake Urmia is her first priority, Iranian Shargh newspaper reported.
She also announced that she will visit Urmia today for her first official visit.
Ebtekar went on to note that projects on saving Urmia Lake were started in 2002 (when she was head of the Environmental Protection Organization during the administration of former president Mohammad Khatami) but were suspended in 2005-when ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office.
She expressed hope that the Iranian government organizations will cooperate to save Lake Urmia.
On August 19, the official website of the Iranian president reported that president Hassan Rouhani establish a working group to tackle the issue of saving the Urmia Lake.
According to the report, after the cabinet meeting, Rouhani spoke to journalists, where he made the remarks regarding the Lake Urmia issue.
"As I've promised people before, I established an Urmia lake-saving work group, which will be headed by country's Energy Minister, Hamid Chitchian," Rouhani said.
The work group was commissioned to use the background of the already conducted studies and technical research works in the field and to present their proposals for saving the Urmia Lake to the government within a two-month period.
Lake Urmia in Northwest Iran is experiencing its worst drought in many years, where over 70 percent of its water has dried up. The level has been declining since 1995.
Officials have said if the current restoration efforts are not effective, the lake will be turned into a swamp within four years. Previous reports said Lake Urmia needs 3.1 billion cubic meters of water per year to survive.
Lake Urmia is the third largest salt water lake on earth with a surface area of approximately 5,200 square kilometers.
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