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Dam-Building Forbidden In Area Of Endangered Lake Oroumiyeh


Source: Radio Zamaneh

Iranian Minister of Power Hamid Chitchian has announced that all dam-building in the Lake Oroumiyeh catchment region has been prohibited by special order of the president.

The country's largest inland lake, Lake Oroumiyeh in northwestern Iran, has been rapidly shrinking, and the proliferation of dams on the rivers that feed it has been identified as one of the contributing factors to the lake's disappearance.

The Mehr News Agency reports that the special group established by President Hassan Rohani for the replenishment of Lake Oroumiyeh is now at work, and while all plans to build new dams in the region have been scrapped, even dam structures that are currently under construction may also be stopped.

Chitchian added that the committee is considering water transfers to the lake from the Aras River, the Caspian Sea and other regions.

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). ( View Larger Map)


The head of the Western Azerbaijan department of the environment announced in August that one-third of Lake Oroumiyeh has disappeared.

Saving Lake Oroumiyeh was one of of Hassan Rohani's campaign promises in the June 2013 presidential election.


Lake Urmia (Orumieh) is a salt lake located in northwestern Iran, between the provinces of East Azarbaijan and West Azarbaijan. The Lake has a surface area of approximately 5,200 square kilometers and it has 102 islands, the second largest island, Kaboudi, is the burial place of Hulagu Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan. UNESCO has registered Lake Urmia as a Biosphere Reserve, and it is listed as a wetland of international importance under the 1971 Ramsar Convention. It is one of the largest natural habitats for the tiny Artemia, which is a genus of aquatic crustacean that serves as a food source for flamingos and other migratory birds.

The lake is named after the provincial capital city of Urmia, originally a Syriac name meaning city of water.

The lake 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 UNESCOBiosphere Reserve and a Ramsar site.

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