Iran Determined to Save Dying Lake
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian energy minister underlined the government's determination to save the endangered Lake Oroumiyeh in northwest of the country, which has lost more than sixty percent of its surface in recent years.
“We will make every effort to prevent the drying up trend in Lake Oroumiyeh,” Hamid Chitchian told Tasnim News Agency in Iran’s northwestern city of Oroumiyeh on Saturday.
The energy official also emphasized that all decisions made by his ministry regarding water management are “non-political” and based on extensive studies, and as such there are no other considerations for the government in implementing water-related projects.
He further noted that no timetable has been set to feed Lake Oroumiyeh with water from the Aras River, which runs along Iran's borders with Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan some 70 kilometres to the north.
Earlier on Friday, Head of Iran’s Department of Environment Masoumeh Ebtekar described Lake Oroumiyeh as one of the world’s significant natural habitats, and called for national determination to resolve the crisis in that water basin.
“Resolving the crisis in Lake Oroumiyeh National and International Park, as one of the significant and great habitats of Iran and the world, is a matter of great importance, and settlement of this crisis requires national resolve,” Ebtekar said.
As Lake Oroumiyeh is shrinking and deserts of salt expanding, Iranian officials are trying to find ways to avert an imminent disaster and to stop the salt lake from drying up.
One of the largest salt lakes in the world and classified as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, Lake Oroumiyeh has lost more than 60 percent of its surface over the last two decades due to drought and the damming of rivers feeding it.
The disappearance of the lake could leave behind billions of tons of salt which in turn displace millions of people and endanger the ecosystem of all surrounding areas, whose economy relies on agriculture and tourism.