Iran releases water from 3 dams to rescue Lake Urmia
Tehran, Iran, March 12
By Mehdi Sepahvand -- Trend:
Iran is planning to set loose three dams in order to rescue the environmentally strategic Lake Urmia from drying up.
Bookan, Mahabad, and Zola dams will give up 140, 40, and 10 million cubic meters of water respectively to pour into the lake, said Kiomars Daneshjoo, an official with Iran's Ministry of energy.
He explained the measure follows an act passed by Lake Urmia Restoration Program board of directors, Mehr news agency reported March 12.
On March 9, Isa Kalantari, director of Staff for Reviving Lake Urmia, said the government has consigned $7 billion to reviving the lake. Welcoming any international help to revive Lake Urmia, Kalantari regretted that the total foreign aid has not surpassed $20 million so far.
He added if a ten-year plan goes well, the lake's water level will reach 1,274 meters from sea level by 2025, and the lake will be 4,300 square kilometers wide.
Low precipitation and unbridled usage of surface and underground waters has run Iran into a serious water crisis.
Lake Urmia is in the northwest of Iran. Over 70 percent of its area has dried up. The level has been declining since 1995. Its area is about 6,000 square kilometers. Lake Urmia needs 3.1 billion cubic meters of water per year to survive.
The lake water contains high amounts of salt and other minerals. If the lake dries out, these can be carried over adjacent areas by wind, causing serious hazards. President Hassan Rouhani has set up a working group for saving Lake Urmia.