By Sara Rajabova
A working group on Lake Urmia’s revival has prepared a new package of proposals to save Lake Urmia, which is experiencing its worst drought condition for many years.
The package of proposals will be submitted to the Iranian administration by early June.
Over 70 percent of Lake Urmia’s water has dried up. The level of the water has been declining since 1995.
Issa Kalantari, the secretary of the working group tasked with Lake Urmia’s revival, said 19 solutions had been proposed earlier to save the lake, but they proved to be impractical, Iran’s ISNA news agency reported.
So, the new package of proposals, which is science-based and practical, will be submitted to the administration, Kalantari added.
He noted however, some 12 years will take to restore the lake.
Officials said earlier if the current restoration efforts are not effective, the lake will be turned into a swamp within four years. Previous reports read that Lake Urmia needs 3.1 billion cubic meters of water per year to survive.
The shoaling problem of Lake Urmia is a matter of concern not only to the Iranian government, but also to the other countries and international organizations of the world.
UN Resident Coordinator Gary Lewis in October 2013 proposed ways to prevent the death of the world’s largest saltwater lake, the Lake Urmia.
Lewis warned in his report that the slow death of the Lake Urmia signals a warning for the future.
Iran has allocated 220 billion rials (about $8.9 million) to the revival of Lake Urmia in the next Iranian calendar year, which starts on March 21, the Mehr News Agency quoted head of Iran’s Environmental Protection Organization, Masoumeh Ebtekar as saying on February 6.
She added that a final approach to save the lake will be declared by the end of spring. The organization will then start its action plans regarding the revival of the lake.
The area of Lake Urmia is the third largest salt water lake on earth, which has 6,000 square kilometers surface. During the migrations of birds the lake becomes their temporary home. The lake’s drying up has an impact on the flora and fauna of the region. Experts on environmental issues say that the measures taken by the Iranian government are not enough to save the lake.
The project on directing 600 million cubic meters of water from Araz River into Lake Urmia was launched during a visit by former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and government officials to Tabriz in 2010. Some $1.2 billion is to be allocated to implement the project.
The Iranian government allocated $900 million to prevent Lake Urmia’s drying up in September 2011.
Also, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has allocated $135 million to Iran to resolve environmental problems with shoaling of the lake.