Lake Urmia depletion will cause great discomfort

January 21, 2018

TEHRAN – The total dryness of Lake Urmia will have a large negative impact on the health and livelihood of local communities and even beyond.

One of the largest permanent hypersaline lakes in the world, Lake Urmia is located in the northwestern province of East Azarbaijan and was considered the largest lake in the Middle East. The volume of water at the lake in 1997 measured at 30 billion cubic meters which has dramatically decreased to 2.5 billion cubic meters in 2017.

If reviving programs fail, Lake Urmia will become the source of future dust and salt storms, which in turn drastically influence the health [of some 14 million people] and agriculture of neighboring regions resting within a radius of 500 km, said Khalil Saei, the head of East Azarbaijan province’s disaster management organization.

Saei further recognized the most devastating outcomes of the lake’s disappearance as the conversion of once cultivated fields to deserts, reduction of people’s income and the spread of respiratory diseases, IRNA reported on Saturday.

Moreover, Ali Taher-Aqdam, vice president of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences mentioned the overall 14 million population living in the region and called for more engagement by people, stating, “Whenever the public engage in an issue, it will resolve more easily.”

If reviving programs fail, Lake Urmia will become the source of future dust and salt storms, which in turn drastically influence the health [of some 14 million people] and agriculture of neighboring regions resting within a radius of 500 km.


“We should conduct extensive researches and prepare ourselves for possible issues caused by the lake’s drainage and water shortage in summer,” said Ali Taher-Aqdam, vice president of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences.

Restoration programs

Lake Urmia restoration committee was established in 2013.
 
The restoration committee has proposed 29 different projects based on academic researches, hoping to revive the lake in a 10-year period.
 
Dredging rivers flowing into the lake, modifying irrigation practices in agricultural lands located at the lake basin and recycling wastewater are among the most important projects in the revival program. 

Lake officials has announced on multiple occasions that while owing to the restoration programs the lake condition is stabilized and it is  saved from certain death budget deficiency is impeding the lake’s full revival. 


MAH/MQ/MG

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