Iran's Lake Urmia surrounded by 300,000 hectares of deser because of drought

Society Materials 3 September 2014 13:39 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept.3

By Fatih Karimov - Trend:

Iran's Lake Urmia is urrounded by 300,000 hectares of desert because of drought, Iran's Mehr news agency reported on September 3.

Parviz Garshasbi, an official at Iran's forests and pastures organization, said one tenth of the desert area is planned to be removed this current Iranian year (began on March 21).

The special working group, which has been established to save the lake, has proposed the allocation of 1200 trillion rials (about $40 million) to remove 34,000 hectares of the desert area, he said.

Lake Urmia in north-west 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.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has established a working group to tackle the issue of saving Lake Urmia.

Earlier the head of Iran's Environmental Protection Organization, Masoumeh Ebtekar said that the Organization does not agree with the plan of transferring water from Caspian Sea or Aras River to Lake Urmia, saying these plans are unprofessional due to economic and environmental factors.