Urmia lake may be restored: Iran invites foreign experts to help (PHOTO)

Urmia lake may be restored: Iran invites foreign experts to help (PHOTO)

Urmia, Iran, Nov. 25

By Temkin Jafarov - Trend:

Iran has prepared a package of proposals to restore the Urmia lake, the head of the Iranian province of West Azerbaijan Ghorban Ali Saadat said Nov. 25 at a meeting with Azerbaijani journalists on a visit to Iran.

"According to these proposals, the lake can be brought back to the condition of 10 years ago," he said. "The package of the proposals has been prepared with the participation of scholars from several countries."

The area of the Urmia lake is about 6,000 square kilometers. During the bird migration, it becomes their temporary home. The Urmia lake shallows due to the prolonged drought. This affects the flora and fauna of the region.

"The government decided to establish the staff for the restoration of the Urmia lake in accordance with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani's decree," he said.

Saadat said that the scholars from Russia, Canada, Japan, the US and European countries, who carried out the necessary research for restoring of the shoaling Aral Sea, were invited to Iran, and meetings with them in Urmia were held.

He said their proposals were considered and studied, and afterwards a package of proposals was prepared in six months in accordance with recommendations," the governor said.

Saadat added that the package consists of 25 proposals, each of which includes certain paragraphs.

"Funds were allocated for realization of several projects as part of the package of proposals," he said, adding "Under the package of proposals, it is necessary to transform the system of agriculture near the lake."

He further noted that it is necessary to switch from the traditional irrigation system to the efficient one.

"There are small ponds and reservoirs near the Lake Urmia, and we are trying to direct their waters into the lake. This will also help its recovery," the governor added.

He also said Iran's government allocated $522 million to the work on the restoration of the Lake Urmia.

"A part of these funds will go to the work in the Iranian province of East Azerbaijan, another part - in the province of West Azerbaijan, and one more part - to the work in the province of Kurdistan," Saadat said.

Currently, the possibility of implementing the project for transferring water from the Caspian Sea and Araz River to Lake Urmia is being studied, he said.

"But first, it is necessary to define the chemical composition of these waters more exactly," he said. "The waters of the Caspian Sea have a high content of sulfates, while there is much sodium chloride in the waters of Lake Urmia and their interflow can create even more problems."

Given that the Caspian Sea and Araz River are the international water resources, this issue needs further discussion, the governor said, adding that currently, this issue is being studied and a concrete decision hasn't been adopted yet.

An investment agreement worth around 875 million Euro for the transition of Araz River's waters to the Lake Urmia was signed in Iran in July 2013.

Under this project, it is planned to resolve the water shortage problem in eight cities and 81 villages of Iran.

Edited by SI

For any questions or feedback, follow the author on Twitter: @JafarovTemkin

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