Aug 21, 2019, 5:39 PM
Journalist ID: 2078
News Code: 83445755
5 Persons
Lake Urmia’s surface area expanding compared to last year

Orumiyeh, Aug 21, IRNA - The surface area of Lake Urmia has increased by 1,015 square kilometers and reached 2,931 square kilometers compared to the same period last year, said Head of Lake Urmia Restoration Project Farhad Sarkhosh as Iran is trying to get the body of water back to its previous glamour.

According to Sarkhosh, Lake Urmia’s water level has increased by 1.43 meter compared to its lowest registered record. He said the lake's water level currently stands at 1,271.45 meters, which is 102 centimeters above the same period last year. 

Sarkhosh noted that despite a stop in the flow of streams into the lake due to hot season, the water level and surface area of the lake are in a much better condition than the previous years. He said every year during the summer season, Lake Urmia’s water level decreases by about 70 centimeters, but that the decrease will be compensated during the rainy season as the streams will again flow into the lake.       

The head of Lake Urmia Restoration Project added that the lake’s depth has increased in some points because of an increase in its water volume and the solution of salt deposited on the waterbed.

Sarkhosh told the reporters that major projects to transfer water to Lake Urmia will be utilized by the end of the year and in case they’re done in time, the lake’s water level will increase about a meter annually. He said prior to the formation of the committee for the revival of Lake Urmia, its water level was decreasing 40 centimeters a year on average, and that the government’s plans for the revival of the lake were successful in preventing that trend. 

Lake Urmia, located between East and West Azarbaijan provinces, was once the largest salt-water lake in the Middle East. It is home to many migratory and indigenous animals, including flamingos, pelicans, egrets and ducks and attracts hundreds of tourists every year who had bathed in the water to take advantage of the therapeutic properties of the lake. But the lake began shrinking in the mid-2000s due to decades of long-standing drought spells and elevated hot summer temperatures. According to international statistics, the lake lost about 80% of its waterbed by 2015.

In a coordinated effort to save the lake in 2013, Iran started a joint project with the UN Development Program (UNDP) funded by the Japanese government. The rejuvenation effort therefore focused on redirecting rivers to irrigate farmland, thus avoiding use of water from the lake, and the promotion of more sustainable farming methods. Authorities hope that the lake would reaches its ecological level by 2025.

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