Some $250m allocated to Lake Urmia restoration program
TEHRAN — The Iranian administration has allocated some 10 trillion rials (nearly $250 million) to Lake Urmia restoration program.
The lake which used to be a natural habitat for migratory birds, and a tourist attraction is facing a dramatic decline for years now. The decline is generally blamed on a combination of drought, damming of the rivers that flow into it, pumping of groundwater from the area, and increased water diversion for irrigation of farming lands within the lake’s watershed.
Some three trillion rials (nearly $75 million) has been recently allotted, ISNA quoted Masoud Tajrishi an official with Lake Urmia restoration program headquarters as saying on Monday.
The $75-million budget allocation was drawn up three weeks ago in a meeting with officials of the headquarters and cabinet members and will be spent on projects to replace old irrigation systems and farming practices and prevent soil erosion, Tajrishi explained.
While the government has passed an annual budget of 17.5 trillion rials (nearly $440 million) for the lake in the current Iranian calendar year, ending on Mar. 20, 2017, however, only some 10 trillion rials (nearly $250 million) will be allocated to the lake restoration, he said.
“The figures and lake’s current status indicate that in case we manage to do as we’ve planned and succeed in getting the proposed budget it is technically possible to restore the lake,” he stated.
He further explained that the government has pay out some 10.5 trillion rials (nearly $263 million) for Lake Urmia restoration over the past two years.