May 12, 2019, 11:29 AM
News Code: 83311205
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Ships start ferrying at Urmia Lake thanks to high water

Urmia, May 12, IRNA – The Hamzeh ship, which had run aground at Urmia Lake because of drought for six years, is now ferrying after heavy rains across Iran in April, 2019.

'The depth of the water of Urmia Lake around the Hamza ship reached more than 170 centimeters enabling the ship to ferry,' Head of Ports and Marine Department of Urmia Lake Isa Besharati said.

'The ship was built in 1995 and ran aground due to reduced level of water of Urmia Lake, four kilometers from the Sharifkhana port, he added.

Hamzeh ship with 40 meters length, 6 meters width, 8 meters height, used to ferry passengers for journeys since 1995 at in Lake Urmia.

Iran’s Lake Urmia has been greatly replenished and revived as a result of sustained and at times heavy rains in the past two months, with its water surpassing 5 billion cubic meters or 1.32 trillion U.S. gallons.

Lake Urmia, a salt lake, which once had a surface area of 5,000 square kilometers (almost 2,000sq miles) shrank to just 700sq km in 2013. The reasons were both mismanagement by local and central governments and also a prolonged drought.

Situated in the mountains of northwest Iran, Lake Urmia is fed by 13 rivers and designated as a site of international importance under the UN Convention on Wetlands that was signed in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971.

The volume of water at the lake in 1997 measured at 30 billion cubic meters which dramatically decreased to 2.5 billion cubic meters in 2017.

The Iranian government put Lake Urmia on its agenda in 2013 and with the help of the UN and Japan efforts began to revive the lake.

As Urmia came back from 700 to 2,000sq km, the rains increased in the fall of 2018 and then intensified in March. Now Urmia’s surface is close to 3,000sq km and water level has increased by 59 centimeters or two feet compared with 2013, according to the governor.

It is one of the worst ecological disasters of recent decades, but the shrinking of Iran's great Lake Urmia finally appears to be stabilising and officials see the start of a revival.

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