Urmia Lake Restoration Hits Financial Roadblock

Urmia Lake Restoration Hits Financial Roadblock
Urmia Lake Restoration Hits Financial Roadblock

Work on Urmia Lake restoration has slowed due to intermittent cash injections, an official involved in the Urmia Lake Restoration Program said.

Masoud Tajrishi, the head of planning, also told ILNA that a number of ongoing projects have been suspended due to lack of funds.

"Things aren't looking good at the moment," he added.

Despite the government's budget problems, President Hassan Rouhani's administration did well to meet the ULRP's financial needs to complete the first phase of the restoration project in three years, as it had been predicted.

Set up in 2013 shortly after Rouhani took office, the 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).

The second phase started in late September, with the initial goal of increasing the water level by 40 centimeters in a year.

"We've been forced to suspend a number of projects, some of which are urgent, such as controlling sandstorms and dredging," Tajrishi said.

In September, a memorandum of understanding was signed by Iran, Japan and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization to help revive the imperiled lake in northwestern Iran, with Tokyo pledging to provide $3.8 million for restoration efforts in the next four years.

Officials have declared that Urmia Lake will be restored by 2023.


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