50 renowned scientists to participate in International Urmia Lake Conference

Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov.17/ Trend F.Milad/

Some 50 renowned international scientists have declared their readiness to take part in the international conference on Urmia Lake, which will be held in Urmia city on 8-10 December.

The conference aims at finding some practical measures to save Urmia Lake from getting dried, the IRIB News Agency reported.

International scientists from Ukraine, Russia, Belgium, USA, Croatia, England and Turkey will take part in the 3-day event.

The Urmia Lake, in the northwest of Iran, is experiencing its worst condition for the past 50 years, so that over 70 percent of its water has been dried.

The level of the lake's water has been declining since 1995.

On Oct.10, Environment Protection Organization Director Mohammad Javad Mohammadizadeh said during the previous Iranian calendar year (ended on March 19, 2012) about 2 billion cubic meters of water were transferred to Urmia Lake.

However, due to frequent droughts and a warmer climate in the current year, which was 2 degrees higher in comparison to previous years, there were more vaporization in the lake, Mohammadizadeh added.

He added that currently only a third of the lake is filled with water and the rest is dry.

Mohammadizadeh also stated that the organization is making efforts to convince the Energy Ministry to allow more water flow from dams into the lake.

The Urmia Lake is the third largest salt water lake on earth with a surface area of approximately 5,200 square kilometers.

Experts say construction of dams on rivers feeding the lake and also droughts have significantly decreased the annual amount of water Urmia Lake receives. They also say that the construction of a bridge across the lake has upset its ecological balance.

Iranian Energy Minister Majid Namjou said on June 16 that Iran has taken special measures to save Urmia Lake from getting dried.

He told the Mehr News Agency that projects aiming to transfer water to the Urmia Lake will be expedited. The parliament has allocated sums to this issue and it is hoped that two projects would be inaugurated by the end of the year, he noted.

"Transferring water from border rivers to the Urmia Lake is another plan. We are negotiating with neighboring countries in this regard and studies are underway," he said.

The director of the Environmental Protection Organization announced in May that constructing dams on rivers which pour into the Urmia Lake is banned.

"On the order of the president, the construction of any new dam in this region is banned," Mohammad Javad Mohammadizadeh told reporters.

He said 19 dams have been constructed at the lake over the years, which hold up 1.8 billion cubic meters of water for agricultural and industrial, and housing uses.

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