Tehran, Iran, May 17
By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:
Iran has been discouraged from carrying water from the Caspian Sea to save Lake Urmia from drying out.
"The Caspian Sea water cannot be used in Lake Urmia because of its chemical makeup as well as due to financial reasons," said Isa Kalantari, director of Lake Urmia preservation program, IRNA news agency reported May 17.
"We believe the issue of carrying water from the Caspian Sea is over.... Because while the Caspian Sea water holds sulfates, that of Lake Urmia holds chlorates," he explained.
"Also, doing so is not economically justified. If we want to pump 10 billion cubic meters of Caspian Sea water to Lake Urmia with an altitude difference of 2,700 meters, it will cost as much as the country's gross domestic product," he added.
Lake Urmia is in the northwest of Iran. Over 70 percent of its area has dried up. The level has been declining since 1995. Its area is about 6,000 square kilometers. Lake Urmia needs 3.1 billion cubic meters of water per year to survive.
The lake water contains high amounts of salt and other minerals. If the lake dries out, these can be carried over adjacent areas by wind, causing serious hazards. President Hassan Rouhani has set up a working group for saving Lake Urmia.
Recent heavy rains and initiatives such as the release of water from other lakes and the channeling of rivers to Urmia have recently resulted in a relative rise in its water levels.