Photos by Mahsa Jamali, Mehr News Agency
These days Lake Orumieh is in dire conditions. The lake's water has continued to drop with visible signs of dryness across the lake. Experts have long warned that natural factors, coupled with human activity, would cause Lake Orumieh to dry up in the near future if nothing is done. Several gatherings at different levels, including provincial and national, have been held so far to save the lake. However, so far nothing serious has been been done to put the drawn up plans into action.
Construction of many dams on waterways feeding the lake, and the recent drought has significantly decreased the annual amount of water Orumieh receives. This in turn has increased the salinity of Orumiyeh's water, causing the lake to lose its significance as home to thousands of migratory birds, such as flamingoes.
Lake Urmia (Orumieh) is a salt lake in northwestern Iran near Turkey. The lake is between the provinces of East Azarbaijan and West Azarbaijan, west of the southern portion of the similarly shaped Caspian Sea. It is the largest lake inside Iran, and the third salt water lake on earth, with a surface area of approximately 5,200 km square (2,000 mile square).
Lake Orumieh is a major barrier between two of the most important cities in West Azerbaijan and East Azerbaijan provinces, Urmia and Tabriz. Experts have warned that the construction of a bridge across the lake, together with a series of ecological factors, will eventually lead to the drying up of the lake, turning it into a salt marsh which will directly affect the climate of the region. Lake Urmia has been shrinking for a long time, with an annual evaporation rate of 0.6m to 1m (24 to 39 inches). Although measures are now being taken to reverse the trend the lake has shrunken by 60 percent and could disappear entirely. The lake's salts are considered to have medical effects, especially as a cure for rheumatism. Lake Urmia is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and a Ramsar site.
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