Iran’s presidential candidate Rohani pledges to restore Lake Urmia
Azerbaijan, Baku, Jun.10 /Trend F.Eminli/
Iran's presidential candidate Hassan Rohani has pledged that he will put restoring Lake Urmia on agenda on the first day if he is elected as the next president, ISNA reported.
Lake Urmia in northwest Iran, is experiencing its worst drought condition for many years, where over 70 per cent of its water has dried up. The level has been declining since 1995.
"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 added.
Preliminary studies show that drying up the lake will endanger lives of 14 million people, he said.
Transferring water from the Caspian Sea to Lake Urmia will cost $2-2.5 billion, Rohani said, adding that creating artificial lakes and selling lands around the lakes will account for 70 percent of the needed money.
Officials say if the current restoration efforts are not effective, the lake will be turned into a swamp within four years.
In October 2012, Environment Protection Organisation director Mohammad Javad Mohammadizadeh said during the Iranian calendar year which ended on March 19, 2012, about two billion cubic meters of water were transferred to the lake.
Currently, only a third of the lake is filled with water and the rest is dry.
Lake Urmia needs 3.1 billion cubic meters of water per year to survive. The Iranian government allocated $900 million for this purpose in September 2011, but the rescue plans have not begun.
Lake Urmia is the third largest salt water lake on earth with a surface area of approximately 5200 square kilometres.
Rohani, a centrist candidate, is the director of the Strategic Research Center of the Expediency Council.
The presidential elections will be held on June 14, 2013.
The voters will elect the successor of the current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is not able to participate in the elections for the third term according to the country's constitutional laws.
The president of Iran is elected for a four-year term.