Lake Urmia’s area is expanding

The area of Urmia Lake in north-west Iran has increased by 1100 square kilometres, according to the head of the Urmia Lake Restoration Project.

Iran Press/Iran news: Director of the provincial headquarter of Urmia Lake in Iran's East Azerbaijan province, Farhad Sarkhosh said the surface area of Lake Urmia has increased by 1,104 square kilometers and reached 2,814 square kilometers compared to the same period last year.  

Currently, the volume of water at Lake Urmia has increased by 1,271 billion cubic meters compared to that of the previous year. The water level has also increased by 1.2 meters, Iran Press reported.

"Every year we see a decrease of about 70 cm in the water level at Lake Urmia during the warm season, but this is offset by rainfall," Sarkhosh noted. 

He added that the water level has risen by 52 cm compared to the lowest registered figure. He noted that the water level has increased by 8cm compared to ten days ago.

He also said that this year's plentiful rainfall, along with the actions taken at the headquarters to revive Lake Urmia, have significantly increased the water level of the lake.

Sarkhosh also noted that the lake now covers 2.47 sq. km of waterbed as of Dec. 28, which indicates a 313 sq. km expansion on the same date last year.

Sarkhosh announcing that significant plans to transfer water to Lake Urmia will be operational by the end of this year, adding: "If these projects are implemented, Lake Urmia water level will increase by about one meter annually.

The sharp rise in precipitations rates in the area has raised hopes for total restoration of the once glorious Lake Urmia.

Based on the latest data published by the National Drought Warning and Monitoring Center, during the past agricultural year (September 23, 2018), precipitation in the country considerably increased to 314.5 millimeters from 159.3 millimeters a year ago, demonstrating a 95.9 percent raise.

Shared between West Azerbaijan and East Azerbaijan provinces in northwestern Iran, Lake Urmia, was once the largest salt-water lake in the Middle East. It was home to many migratory and indigenous animals including flamingos, pelicans, egrets, and ducks and attracted hundreds of tourists every year who had bathed in the water to take advantage of the therapeutic properties of the lake.

All domestic and foreign experts believe that participation of local communities along with the implementation of different projects has an important role in reviving Lake Urmia. 101/211/216

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