Saturday, November 29, 2014

Iran: Experts review ways to revive Oroumiyeh Lake

Source: IRNA

Tehran, Nov 29, IRNA – Reviving the drying Oroumiyeh Lake whose imminent death has been for years making headline was discussed among concerned officials and experts in a TV debate on IRIB Channel 1 on Friday night.

After coming to power of President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet, saving the Oroumiyeh Lake from its ongoing crisis has been high on the agenda of the government and the National Working Group to Save the Oroumiyeh Lake, led by first vice president and its subsidiary working group headquarter have been as of the beginning of the 1th Government’s tenure been tackling the problem is sessions, and receiving programs and proposals.

The government has thus far ratified 26 bills on the revival of Oroumiyeh Lake, among which using the water of such rivers as Aras, Zarrineh are one group, while changing the agriculture pattern in the peripheral regions of that lake, and banning agricultural activities (or altering them) are another group.

Oroumiyeh Lake (former Reza’iyeh Lake) is located in northwest Iran in Azarbaijan region. It is separating the East Azarbaijan of Iran from the country’s West Azarbaijan province

The lake is the largest inland water body of Iran and the second largest salty lake of the world. The salt density of this lake is very high and its water is fed mainly by the Zarrineh, Simineh, Talkheh, Gader, Barandouz, Shhrchay, Nazlou, and Zola rivers.

But now this river is on the verge of full drying and during the course of the past 13 years its water level has sank six meters.

Allocation of 90% of the region’s water resources to agricultural activities, high vaporization of the lake water following the rising temperature of the region in recent years, and illegal soaking of the underground waters due to irrational well drilling are quoted as the causes for this lake’s drying.

Environmental experts argue that if the Oroumiyeh Lake will fully dry the region’s temperature will turn from semi-arid into hot and dry and salt winds will threaten the entire region.

One of the plans for saving the Oroumiyeh Lake is transferring water from other regions, especially the Aras River, but this plan has faced objections.

In August 2011 the Iranian parliament passed a two star bill rejecting the water transfer plan to Oroumiyeh Lake.

The Friday night discussion among the concerned officials and environmental experts was the most pivotal debate allocated to the existing options for saving the Oroumiyeh Lake.

In addition to the abovementioned obstacles in was made clear in the discussion that in the course of the ten year program each year 8% of the agriculture of the vicinity of the lake will be removed and the three year program for releasing the rivers feeding the lake will be unfortunately delayed till next year due to the low precipitations during the current year.