Lake Urmia revitalization budget rises by $76m

November 9, 2020 - 18:28

TEHRAN – A total of 3.2 trillion rials (nearly $76 million at the official rate of 42,000 rials) was allocated to continue the Lake Urmia Restoration Program in the current Iranian calendar year (ending March 20, 2021).

Large structural projects such as the water treatment plant and its transmission line to Lake Urmia will be inaugurated in December this year, and 52 million cubic meters of treated water will be transferred to Lake Urmia annually, Farhad Sarkhosh, head of the Lake Urmia Restoration Program’s office in West Azarbaijan province, said on Monday.

Referring to the latest situation of Lake Urmia, he said that the current level of the lake is 1271.19 meters, which was 1271.23 meters in the same period last year.

Sarkhosh, stating that currently, the area of Lake Urmia is 2,741 square kilometers, noted that currently, 3.1 billion cubic meters of water is flowing in the Lake.

In August, Sarkhosh stated that 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.

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 the 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 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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