Iran administration annuls dams’ construction order

Azerbaijan, Baku, Sep. 9/ Trend, R. Zamanov

Iranian energy minister Hamid Chitchian said that President Rouhani has annulled the previous order to construct a number of dams near Lake Urmia.

"The government may even halt construction of dams in the area, as well," the Mehr News Agency quoted Chitchian as saying.

"We are currently studying possible ways to transfer water from Aras River and Caspian Sea to restore Lake Urmia," he added.

Chitchian further said that some wind plants with the capacity to produce 500 megawatt hours of electricity will come on stream by the end of the current calendar year (March 20. 2014).

The official website of Iranian president reported in august that Hassan Rouhani has established a working group to tackle the issue of saving the Urmia lake.

"As I've promised people before, I established an Urmia lake-saving work group, which will be headed by country's energy minister, Hamid Chitchian," Rouhani said.

Other members of the group include the agriculture Jihad minister, the interior minister, and the head of the Environment Protection Organization and a representative of the deputy president for planning and strategic supervision.

The working group was commissioned to use the background of the already conducted studies and technical research works in the field and to present their proposals for saving the Urmia Lake to the government within a two-month period.

Back in July, Rouhani said that he will put restoring Lake Urmia on his first day agenda if he is elected.

"I promise you if I am elected as the head of the executive branch, I will start working to save Lake Urmia on the first day," Rohani said at the time.

Lake Urmia in northwest Iran, is experiencing its worst drought in many years; 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.

Lake Urmia is the third largest salt water lake on earth with a surface area of approximately 5200 square kilometers.

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