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Iran: Budget announced for saving Lake Oroumiyeh


Source: Radio Zamaneh

Iranian authorities have approved a $900-million budget to stop the rapid drying of Lake Oroumiyeh.

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).

Iranian media report that the head of Iran's Organization for the Protection of the Environment has announced that 950 billion toumans ($900 million) has been allotted to redirect water from the Aras and Kurdistan Rivers to Lake Oroumiyeh.

Last week, activists in Tabriz and Oroumiyeh staged demonstrations to protest government inaction as the lake's water level continues to fall.

Protesters attacked in Tabriz

Despite approval of the budget, MP Kazem Farahmand told the Khaneh Mellat website that "hasty" decisions will not solve the problem of Lake Oroumiyeh.

"Salvaging Lake Oroumiyeh without identifying the causes of it drying out is impossible, and any hasty decision in this regard will only lead to further environmental costs," Farahmand maintained.

The president's parliamentary representative has announced the formation of a committee to resolve the problems facing Lake Oroumiyeh. Among its proposed projects: redirecting water from the Aras River and building a 40-kilometer tunnel to direct underground waters from Zaub to Lake Oroumiyeh.

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