Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 8
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
An Iranian official says that the administration allocated 3.7 billion rials (about $139 million based on official rate of 26,600 rials per each USD) to implement projects aimed at revival of Lake Urmia for current fiscal year started on March 21.
Kioumars Daneshjou, head of the Water Resources Department of West Azerbaijan province said that the allocated money will be used to finance an 18-article reviving plan by the energy ministry, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported Sept. 8.
Daneshjou went on to add that the revival plan includes steps such as dredging the rivers flowing into the lake, water transfer from other catchments, management of groundwater resources as well as promoting optimal and efficient water consumption.
Lake Urmia in north-western 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