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Authorities agree over transfer of water to Lake Oroumiyeh

Source: Radio Zamaneh

An Iranian parliamentary commission and the Ministry of Energy have approved a plan to transfer water from the Aras River to the rapidly drying Lake Oroumiyeh.

Lake Urmia (Oroumieh) 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).

ISNA reports that Nader Ghazipour, the Oroumiyeh representative in Parliament, said: "The action plan for saving the lake was examined by the Agricultural Jihad Commission on Wednesday and it was approved."

He added that the energy commissions and the Ministry of Energy also have approved the plan.

Of the 22 solutions considered, Ghazipour said, the transfer of water from the Aras River was deemed to be the most practical and cost effective plan to save Lake Oroumiyeh.

The lake's falling water level has triggered widespread protests in Azerbaijan in recent months, especially after Parliament rejected an earlier plan to transfer water from the Aras River. Activists have accused the government of ignoring the critical nature of the situation, but Parliament insisted that the plan lacked proper financing.

The falling water level has been attributed to the numerous dams built on the rivers that feed the lake, as well as reduced precipitation in the region.

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