Baku, Azerbaijan, May 20
By Fatih Karimov - Trend:
If the dying Urmia Lake is not revived, parts of Iran will face serious problems, Iranian first vice president Eshaq Jahangiri said.
Urmia Lake problem is an example of irregular use of underground water resource, he said, urging people to economize on the consumption of water and management of water resources, Iran's Mehr news agency reported on May 20.
Jahangiri said Iran's government pursues the policy to reorganize and manage water wells which are used for agricultural purposes, modernize irrigation systems, and dredge rivers, to help revive the lake.
Lake Urmia, located in northwest of Iran, measures 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.
Issa Kalantari, the secretary of the Urmia Lake Restoration Committee says over 1.6 quadrillion rials ($57.14 billion based on official rate of 28,000 rials per each USD) is needed for reviving the lake.
If the needed funds are allocated, the lake could be restored by 2023, Kalantari said.
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.