Water level of Lake Urmia 40 per cent less than previous year
Iran, Tehran, March 28
By Milad Fashtami - Trend:
The water level of Lake Urmia reduced by 40 per cent in the past year, Director of West Azarbaijan Province's Environmental Protection Organization Hassan Abbasnejad said, Iran's ISNA News agency reported on March 28.
"The radius of Lake Urmia's negative influence on the environment will increase in the coming months," he said.
"Little rain and rising temperatures have worsened the lake's situation in the past years," he explained.
The head of Iran's Environmental Protection Organization, Masoumeh Ebtekar, said on Feb. 6 that Iran has allocated 220 billion rials (about $8.9 million) to the revival of Lake Urmia in the current Iranian calendar year which started on March 21, the Mehr News Agency reported.
She added that a final approach to save the lake will be declared by the end of the spring. The organization will then start its action plan.
"Many solutions have so far been proposed, but we cannot trust one and act based on it alone since we have not had any similar experiences in the past," she noted.
On Oct. 5, Ebtekar said the department does not agree with plans to transfer water from the Caspian Sea to Lake Urmia.
Meanwhile, on September 24, 2013, governor of the West Azerbaijan province, Vahid Jalalzade, said, "For 30 years Lake Urmia has been neglected. As a result of dam construction and climate change, some 70 percent of the lake has dried up and all forces should be mobilized for its rescue."
On August 19, 2013, the official website of the Iranian president reported that President Rouhani was to establish a working group to tackle the issue of saving Lake Urmia.
The work group was commissioned to use the background of already conducted studies and technical research work in the field and to present proposals for saving the lake to the government within a two-month period.
Lake Urmia in north-west Iran is experiencing its worst drought in many years. The water 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.