53,000 local farmers cede right to 50% of water to save Lake Uremia

May 24, 2015

TEHRAN- 53,000 farmers around Lake Uremia relinquished half of their water supply last Iranian year - which ended on March 20 2015 - to give a new life to the lake, IRNA reported on Saturday.

It is estimated that there are currently 142,000 farmers in West Azerbaijan, 244,895 in East Azerbaijan and 110,000 in Kurdistan province: in total, around 496,895 farmers.

The lake is central to their economy, as the main industry in the basin is agriculture – including the cultivation of grains, fruits, and vegetables – and an important portion of the water is spent on farming.

Recent studies show that the water´s surface area shrank by approximately 80 percent of its original size at the end of the dry season in 2013, and, by approximately 70 percent at the end of the rainy season during the same year.

There is now, however, a new plan: “Integrated Participatory Crop Management” (IPCM) being executed in the area with Japan´s cooperation which relies to a large extent on farmers determination to save Lake Uremia, bringing new hopes to let the lake survive.

Lake Uremia is located in the Northwest of Iran, and it is the largest lake in the Middle East and the sixth largest salt lake in the world.