Lake Urmia hoped to be brought to life

November 23, 2015

TEHRAN — On Thursday, water was transferred from Siminehrud and Zarrinehrud rivers to Lake Urmia, hoping to brought the dying lake to life.

Lake Urmia, in northwestern Iran, which has been shrinking substantially since 2000s, was once the sixth largest saltwater lake on Earth.

The decline is generally blamed on a combination of drought, increased water diversion for irrigated agriculture within the lake’s watershed.

Lake Uremia Restoration Program aims at finding a practical solution to revive the lake and devising promising restoration ideas, including stopping dam construction, managing the existing reservoirs and regulating the use of the agricultural lands.

One of the solutions mostly centers on transferring water from rivers or seas inside the country or across the borders.

“Normally, water from Zarrinehrud scatters at the south part of Lake Urmia and evaporates, so we were tasked to divert Zarrinehrud to flow into Siminehrud and ultimately to Lake Urmia,” Isa Kalantari, the head of Lake Urmia Restoration Program’s Committee told ISNA news agency.

“30 cubic meters of water enters Lake Urmia per second,” he added.

The lake will be restored when it has 15 billion cubic meters of water, Kalantari said, adding, there is currently about 1.6 billion cubic meters of water in the lake.

“Aji Chay River is also diverted into Lake Urmia. Transferring water from Zab River will get off the ground by 2019.”

The lake used to a natural habitat for migratory birds, and a tourist attraction as it is believed to have some therapeutic properties and healing effects.

MQ