Lake Oroumiyeh Resuscitating

Lake Oroumiyeh Resuscitating

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – As Iranians are going to celebrate the Persian new year and go on Nowruz holidays, hopes have been raised for the resuscitation of Lake Oroumiyeh in northwest of Iran which was on the brink of being completely dried up.

A recently-inaugurated government-funded project to transfer water to the Oroumiyeh (Urmia) Lake in the northwestern province of West Azarbaijan coupled with the higher-than-normal winter precipitation have given new life to the imperiled lake that was once cruised by barges and boats and received huge crowds of tourists bathing on its coast and enjoying mud baths.

The lake that initially covered an area of over 5,200 square kilometers began to shrink since 1995. More shallow sections of the salt have disappeared at an alarming rate in recent years.

The catastrophe has threatened the habitat of shrimp, flamingos, deer and wild sheep and caused salt storms that pollute nearby cities and farms.

That triggered a coordinated effort to save the lake in 2013 -with a joint program between Iran and the UN Development Program funded by the Japanese government.

The administration of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi completed the mega environmental project initiated by his predecessor to transfer water from a number of nearby dams and rivers to Lake Oroumiyeh.

On February 24, President Raisi inaugurated the major project that includes nearly 36 kilometers of tunnels and 11 kilometers of canals transferring 300 million cubic meters of water to Lake Oroumiyeh per annum in the first phase.

During the second phase, a total of 600 million cubic meters of water will be transferred from the ‘Kanisib’ dam to ‘Naqade’ plain and the Oroumiyeh Lake basin every year.

It appears that the fresh flow of water on the crumbled soil of the lake and the expansion of its area would bring joy and hope to the visitors during the Persian new year holidays that will begin on March 21.

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