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Iran approves big budget to save drying lake Urmia

Source: Radio Zamaneh

Iran's administration approved on Sunday November 3 the plans developed by the task force to save the rapidly drying Lake Urmia, including a budget of about 7.3 trillion rials (about $225 million).

photo by Seyed Kazem Yousefei, Islamic Republic News Agency

The plan puts the Ministry of Agriculture in charge of researching and devising new forms of watering in the Lake Urmia region. The Ministry of Power is charged with the detailed monitoring of water usage in the region and putting in place tools to reduce consumption.

The unregulated use of water in the region and the excessive exploitation of underground water sources are two of the chief causes of the rapid drying of the country's largest inland lake.

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).

The plan also includes a large educational aspect aimed at promoting awareness of the water problems in local communities and enlisting their support to remedy the situation.

The head of the Western Azerbaijan Environment Department announced that there has been a 30-centimetre increase in the lake's water level, mostly due to recent rainfall.

Hassan Abbasnejad told ILNA that all the equipment needed to dredge the rivers feeding the lake has been acquired and that process will start next month.

photo by Seyed Kazem Yousefei, Islamic Republic News Agency

Last month, the government also announced a ban on agricultural activities on large parts of land in the region. The government has adopted a three-year plan to lease farmland in the region and compensate farmers for what they would have earned, while stopping cultivation and irrigation during those years to ease the pressure on Lake Urmia and let it replenish.

... Payvand News - 11/04/14 ... --

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