$152m more earmarked to Lake Urmia restoration

August 22, 2020 - 20:43

TEHRAN – A new budget amounting to 6.4 trillion rials (nearly $152 million at the official rate of 42,000 rials) will be allocated for the Lake Urmia revival, which will be spent on completing semi-finished projects, head of the Lake Urmia Conservation Program has announced.

Completion of the third phase of Urmia wastewater treatment plant and the first phase of Tabriz wastewater treatment plant, as well as the water transfer project of Kani Sib Dam to Lake Urmia and important agricultural projects such as pressurized irrigation, are among the projects that will benefit from the fund, Farhad Sarkhosh said.

Referring to the hot season and high evaporation of water in the catchment area of the lake, he said that the lake’s surface has now reached 2,869 square kilometers.

He pointed out that the water volume of Lake Urmia has reached 3.6 billion cubic meters, he added that the level of the Lake has increased to 1271.36 meters.

Lake Urmia, located in the northwest of Iran, was once the most extensive permanent hypersaline lake in the world. Unsustainable water management in response to increasing demand together with climatic extremes has given rise to the lake's depletion during the last two decades. The lake’s restoration program was established in 2013 and aims to restore the lake within a 10-year program.

At the beginning of Lake Urmia Restoration Program in 2013, the Lake’s level was about 1270.32 meters, 1783 square kilometers in surface area, and 1.14 billion cubic meters in volume, which indicates a 50 percent increase in the lake’s surface area in comparison to the current water level.

Achieving sustainable rehabilitation requires countless efforts, such as preventing the lake's water flow from entering the agricultural land. Lake Urmia’s condition stabilized with a positive trend due to heavy rainfall, but there is a fear that this trend will be reversed by drought in the coming years.

The above normal levels of rain came to help conservation measures to preserve the Lake Urmia, however, it still needs 9.5 billion cubic meters of water to reach its ecological level of 1274.10 meters.

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