Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 1
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) expressed readiness to take part in projects for restoring Urmia Lake, Iran's ISNA news agency reported Dec. 1.
The FAO representative to Tehran, Serge Nakouzi said that serious and urgent measures should be taken for revive of the lake, while the lake's drying crisis affects the entire region's climate.
Nakouzi made the remarks during a meeting with governor of Iran's East Azerbaijan province, Esmaeil Jabbarzadeh.
FAO is ready to take part in the issue, the envoy said, adding the organization has a special mission in topics such as Urmia Lake crisis. It can provide the Iranian side with its experience and expertise in various fields including sustainable management of soil and water, he said.
Lake Urmia in northwestern Iran is experiencing its worst drought in many years, where over 90 percent of its area has dried up. The level has been declining since 1995.
Officials have warned if serious steps are not taken, the lake will be turned into a swamp within a few years, which will force millions of Iranians to migrate to greener pastures.
Previous reports said Lake Urmia needs 3.1 billion cubic meters of water per year to survive.
Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani set up a working group for saving Lake Urmia, the Committee for Urmia Lake Restoration.
The committee prepared a 9-year plan to restore the lake, with 2023 being the year targeted for the lake's complete restoration.
However, some Iranian experts believe that the most efficient measures in reviving the lake such as prohibiting unauthorized use of surface and groundwater, limiting groundwater use by local farmers and transferring water from other catchments including the Araz River are impractical and will lead to serious social tensions.
Edited by CN