Japanese experts to help Iran restore Lake Urmia

Iran Materials 12 November 2013 18:16 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 12

By Fatih Karimov - Trend: A group of Japanese experts will come to Iran soon to help the country restore Lake Urmia, the IRNA quoted Iranian energy minister Hamid Chitchian as saying.

In a meeting with Japanese Ambassador to Tehran Koji Haneda, the Iranian minister said that the two sides agreed to cooperate in the water management and renewable energy sectors, as well as Lake Urmia restoration plan.

Previously, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to closely cooperate in issues related to environment protection and water management.

On October 22, deputy head of the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA), Mohsen Jalalpour said that the Lake Urmia's revival and preventing the dry up would cost some $200 billion, ISNA news agency reported.

He went on to note that, all revenues from Lake Urmia hardly reached $2 billion.

On September 21, Iranian media outlets quoted deputy Director of Iran's Water Resources Management Company, Yaqoub Hemmati as saying water input to the catchments of the Lake Urmia has decreased by 46 percent compared to the long-term average value which indicates that reviving Lake Urmia is impossible.

On August 19, the official website of the Iranian president reported that President Rouhani establish a working group to tackle the issue of saving the Urmia Lake.

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

Lake Urmia in north-west Iran is experiencing its worst drought in many years, where 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 5,200 square kilometers.