Restoring Iran’s Urmia Lake needs $57B

Business Materials 19 March 2015 09:16 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Mar. 17

By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

Over 1.6 quadrillion rials ($57.14 billion based on official rate of 28,000 rials per each USD) is needed for reviving Iran 's northwestern Urmia Lake, Issa Kalantari, the secretary of the Urmia Lake Restoration Committee said.

If the needed funds are allocated, the lake could be restored by 2023, Kalantari said.

The official further said that besides the allocation of the needed funds by the government, cooperation of the local people, in particular farmers is vital for reviving the lake, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported March 17.

Kalantari also criticized some lawmakers for what he called "undermining" the committee's activities without disclosing further details.

Lake Urmia's area is about 6,000 square kilometers. The lake has already lost 90 percent of its water. The water level in Lake Urmia started decreasing in 1995.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani set up the working group -Committee for Urmia Lake Restoration- for saving Lake Urmia in the first cabinet meeting in 2013.The committee prepared a 9-year plan to restore the lake, with 2023 being the year when the lake would have been completely restored.

The proposal suggests some measures on reduction of water consumption in the agriculture sector as well as transferring water from other regions into the lake.

However some Iranian experts believe that the measures which maybe efficient 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 Araz River are impractical and will lead to serious social tensions.

Edited by CN

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