Iran to start water transfer plan from Araz to Orumiyeh Lake

Iran to start water transfer plan from Araz to Orumiyeh Lake

Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 1/Trend A. Qurbanova, D.Khatinoglu/

Iran signed the agreement with northern neighbors to transfer water from its sector of the Araz River to Orumiyeh Lake, IRNA quoted Iran's Energy Minister Majid Namjou as saying.

"The Araz River is located in the border," he said. According to the agreement with neighbors, about 50 percent of the river belongs to Iran and the rest to its neighbors."

He said that water transferred from the Araz River to the west of Azerbaijan in the long term period will solve the drought problem in Orumiyeh lake.

Iran will use water from the Araz River and the country will not seek for using sectors of other neighbors.

The Iranian government approved assigning $900 million to protect Orumiyeh Lake from drying up. This amount has been granted to transfer water from rivers in the Kurdistan province to Orumiyeh Lake .

Earlier, the Ecology and Natural Resources Minister of Azerbaijan Huseyngulu Bagirov said that Iran has not officially appealed to Azerbaijan regarding the use of Araz River waters to prevent Lake Urmia(Orumiyeh).

He said that the Azerbaijani side was informed of the use of Araz River waters to prevent the swallowing of Lake Urmia only through media reports.

"If in fact there is such an intention, Iran must coordinate this issue with Azerbaijan," Bagirov said, stressing that Iran and Azerbaijan have made an agreement on the use of waters of the Araz River.

"The agreement reflects many issues. It was agreed that each party may use water from the river for agriculture and other needs," Bagirov said.

He said that a certain water level should be maintained in the river to preserve the ecological balance.

As an example, Bagirov stressed that the Armenians have altered the riverbed of the Tovuz River for their own purposes. Naturally, they will feel the ecological consequences.

"The lake's disappearance would leave behind it a residue of 10 billion tons of salt, which threatens the lives of 14 million citizens around the lake," Orumiyeh lawmaker Javad Jahangirzadeh said earlier.

Iran 's largest lake, Orumiyeh, dried up by almost one-third, the Director of the Iranian State Department for Lake Protection Ali Nazardust said earlier. Dams, rainfall shortages, and other negative factors have caused Orumiyeh Lake to dry up.

At present the lake's salinity level is at 330 percent, Nazardust said. Earlier the figure was 160-170 percent and the reservoir covered 5,000 square meters.

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