People, Environment

Purchasing Farmers’ Water Rights to Revive Lake Urmia

Purchasing Farmers’ Water Rights to Revive Lake UrmiaPurchasing Farmers’ Water Rights to Revive Lake Urmia

Farmers around Lake Urmia, West Azarbaijan Province, will be paid for their water rights, as long as the government offers them alternative means of making a living.

Mohammad Ra’ouf Sepehroddin, a member of the Urmia Lake Revival Program, also told ISNA that the scheme will help divert water back into the lake, noting that the only way to convince farmers to sell their water rights is for the government to assure farmers their livelihoods will not be impacted by the sale.

“Until the waters of Aras River can be transferred to Lake Urmia, we need to rely on dam waters to ensure the lake is at least 5% full,” he said.

Sepehroddin conceded that to revive the lake, sacrifices must be made and said the implementation of the scheme will reduce agricultural output. He noted that the repercussion of failing to revive the lake poses far bigger risks.

“If Lake Urmia completely dries up, every farm in its vicinity will turn into barren land,” Sepehroddin said.

The Water Right Purchase Program must be implemented gradually. Over five years, 40% of irrigation waters should be purchased. This way, agriculture and animal husbandry will suffer the least damage.

Pointing to wasteful farming practices, Sepehroddin said 10% of water used in agriculture are wasted and called for implementing modern irrigation methods to conserve water.