Satellite imagery of lake Orumiyeh (Oroumieh, Urmiah) in 1984. A 2011 image shows great amounts of drainage and surface area loss. Photo: NASA

Satellite imagery of lake Orumiyeh (Oroumieh, Urmiah) in 2011, showing great amount of drainage and surface area loss compared with a similar image from 1984, 6 September 2011. Photo: NASA

By Trend T.Jafarov
29 June 2013

Azerbaijan, Baku (Trend) – Lake Urmia’s water level has dropped by another 28 centimeters compared to the same period last year, the head of the department of water and water resources of Iran's Ministry of Energy, Alireza Daimi said, the İRNA agency reported on Saturday.

According to Daimi, the increased use of water from the lake for irrigation of agricultural fields as well as a decrease in rainfall has led to a decrease in the lake's water level.

He noted that there is a need for restrictions on the use of lake water for irrigation of agricultural fields.

Daimi added that due to the reduction in rainfall, the amount of drinking water has decreased as well, and "we are trying to avoid interruptions in the provision of drinking water."

It should be noted that the area of Lake Urmia totals nearly six thousand square kilometers. During the migration of migratory birds, the lake becomes their temporary home. Because of the prolonged drought, Urmia shallows, having an impact on the flora and fauna of the region. Experts on environmental issues say that the measures taken by the Iranian government to save the lake are insufficient.

Previously, general director of the Organization for Environmental Protection of the Iranian Province of West Azerbaijan Hassan Abbas Nejad has said that 3.1 billion cubic meters of water are needed annually to save Lake Urmia. Every liter of water in the lake contains 330 grams of salt. Earlier, the figure was at 160-170 grams per liter.

In 2010, during the visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and members of the government to Tabriz, the project for transfer of 600 million cubic meters of water from the Araz River to Lake Urmia was approved. $1.2 billion will be allocated for this project.

In September 2011, the Iranian government has allocated $900 million to prevent shallowing of the lake.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has allocated $135 million for Iran to address environmental issues of the shoaling Lake Urmia.

Lake Urmia's water level decreases by 28 cm

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