People, Environment

Urmia Lake Water Declines

Urmia Lake Water DeclinesUrmia Lake Water Declines

Urmia Lake's water level has dropped from 1,270.64 cm to 1,270.38 cm, showing a 26-cm decline over a year.  

However, Farhad Sarkhosh, the head of the provincial office of Urmia Lake Restoration Program at West Azarbaijan Province, has stated that with a 36% decline in precipitation over this period, the current level is normal, IRNA reported.

"The current area of Urmia Lake is 1,900 square km and the volume of water is currently 1.32 billion cubic meters," he said.  Sarkhosh noted that he is optimistic that the lake's ecological restoration will be accomplished within 10 years, according to the initial plan.

"Urmia Lake is a closed body. Therefore, the volume of lake is seriously affected by climate change," he said, adding that the 300 sq. km. decline in the lake's area compared to the previous year is natural.

ULRP set out to stabilize the lake’s water level (Phase 1) before embarking on the more challenging task of restoring its water level to what it was more than a decade ago (Phase 2). Dredging of the lake's tributaries, engineering works regarding the river mouth to facilitate the flow of water to the lake, closing 1,200 illegal wells, and promoting sustainable irrigation over 6,200 hectares of croplands have been stabilizing measures implemented during President Hassan Rouhani's first administration since 2013.  

Although the first stage of the restoration, which was completed last September, has been hailed as a success, the second stage to reach the water level has proved to be much more difficult.

ULRP has set out three main objectives for this phase. The first objective marks a 40% decline in water consumption through a more efficient transfer of water using polyethylene pipeline systems. This objective has been partly achieved with pipelines currently extending over an area of 414 km.  The establishment and expansion of networks for assessment of surface and underground water in the province have achieved 68% progress.  The third objective is the construction of Golman water treatment plant, which is to be realized by the end of the current Iranian year (20 March 2018).


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