Lake Urmia – victim of wrong agriculture policies in Iran

Society Materials 25 November 2015 20:22 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 25

By Khalid Kazimov - Trend:

Lake Urmia is drying up because of wrong agricultural policies, as well as traditional irrigation methods, the deputy head of Iranian Department of Environment, Esmail Kahrom, told Trend Nov. 25.

"An enormous number of dams for agricultural purposes were constructed in West Azerbaijan Province across the rivers flowing towards Lake Urmia, which eventually led to the loss of the lake," he said.

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.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has set up a working group for saving Lake Urmia.

The committee prepared a nine-year plan to restore the lake, with 2023 being the year targeted for the lake's complete restoration.

However, many Iranian environmental activists accuse President Rouhani of failing to fulfill his campaign promises to save the lake.

Given the climate change and the current level of water consumption, Kahrom anticipated the country will lose many rivers and lake in the near future.

He added that if Iran manages to use modernized irrigation methods, saving lakes, ponds and rivers will be possible.

Currently the level of ground water resources is reducing in Iran and the only way to save lakes and rivers is applying modern irrigation methods, such as drip irrigation and sprinkler systems, he concluded.