Lake Urmia volume up by 160m cubic meters

February 12, 2022 - 18:32

TEHRAN – The level of Lake Urmia has risen in recent weeks due to increased rainfall, flowing 160 million cubic meters more water compared to the beginning of the current water year (September 23, 2021).

According to the latest monitoring, there are 2.890 billion cubic meters of water in Lake Urmia, while it was estimated at 2.730 billion cubic meters at the beginning of the current water year, Javad Mohammadi, deputy head of West Azarbaijan Water Company, said.

Also, the level of Lake Urmia has increased by 5 centimeters, reaching 1,270.70 meters, he added.

Announcing an increase of 234 square kilometers in the lake's surface, he stated that at present, the lake is now stretching to 2,261 square kilometers.

Of course, the level and volume of Lake Urmia are still far from the same period last year, so the current level is 58 cm lower, he lamented.

Also, over the past year, the volume of the lake decreased by 1.890 billion cubic meters and the surface shrank by 1,377 kilometers, he concluded.

Shared between West Azarbaijan and East Azarbaijan provinces in northwestern Iran, Lake Urmia, was once the largest salt-water lake in West Asia. It was home to many migratory and indigenous animals including flamingos, pelicans, egrets, and ducks, and attracted hundreds of tourists every year who had bathed in the water to take advantage of the therapeutic properties of the lake.

However, decades of long-standing drought spells and elevated hot summer temperatures that speed up evaporation as well as increased water demands in the agriculture sector shrank the lake drastically. In 1999 the volume of water which was at 30 billion cubic meters drastically decreased to half a billion cubic meters in 2013. Moreover, the lake surface area of 5,000 square kilometers in 1997 shrunk to one-tenth of that to 500 square kilometers in 2013.

Lake's surface area has reached up to 2,917 square kilometers, indicating 1,582 square kilometers increase in comparison to 2013 when the Lake Urmia Restoration Program began.

The level of Lake Urmia has reached 1,271 meters, which indicates an increase of over 1.39 meters compared to the lowest volume recorded. However, it still needs 9.5 billion cubic meters of water to reach its ecological level.

The above normal levels of rain came to help conservation measures to preserve Lake Urmia, but, this year, the drought and low rainfall are threatening the lake again.


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