Urmia Lake continues to dry up, needs 25 bln cm of water to reach normal level

Iran Materials 2 August 2013 18:09 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Aug. 2/ Trend N. Umid, S. Isayev

Lake Urmia still needs some 25 billion cm of water to reach its normal level, Director of West Azerbaijan Water Company Naghi Karimi said, ISNA news agency reported.

Karimi went on to say that this level will not be reached even if all water reserves in provinces' dams will be released into the lake.

"Non-permitted wells are the main causes in the current situation of the Lake Urmia. 95 percent of non-permitted wells (some 13,000) are located in the catchments of the lake," he underscored.

He also noted that the drought has intensified the problem.

The project for transfer of 600 million cubic meters of water from the Araz River to Lake Urmia was approved in 2010, during a visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and members of the government to Tabriz. Some $1.2 billion will be allocated for this project.

In September 2011, the Iranian government has allocated $900 million to prevent shallowing of the lake.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has allocated $135 million for Iran to address environmental issues of the shallowing Lake Urmia.

According to the official statistics, 70 percent of the water surface of Lake Urmia has been dried up. At present, each liter of water contains 400 grams of salt.

The area of Lake Urmia is about 6000 square kilometers. The lake drying up has an impact on the flora and fauna of the region.

Illegal use of water flowing into the lake for watering by the rural population, construction of dams and illegal objects on its banks, are among the problems contributing to the drying of the lake.