TEHRAN (Radio Zamaneh)—A senior Iranian official announced that Iran is enlisting Armenia’s aid to resolve the rapid drying of Lake Urumieh.
Lake Urumieh 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).
MohammadJavad Mohammadzadeh, the head of Iran’s Environment Protection Organization, announced today that Iran and Armenia have agreed on transferring water from Armenia to counter the critical fall in Lake Urumieh’s water levels.
He remarked that hot weather and a lack of precipitation have brought the lake to its lowest water levels ever recorded.
He added that recovery plans for the lake include the transfer of water from Eastern Iranian Azerbaijan Province.
Previously, Iranian authorities had announced a plan to transfer water from the Arax River, which borders Iran and Republic of Azerbaijan. But that country objected, and the 950-billion-touman plan was scrapped.
Armenia and Iran recently signed an agreement to cooperate on environmental projects.
Iran maintains that the drying of Lake Urumieh would be a “national environmental catastrophe” that could also have adverse effects on neighboring countries.
Iranian officials have reported that half of the lake, a surface area of more than 3,000 square kilometers, has dried up and turned into salt fields.
In past months, clashes have broken out in Tabriz and Urumieh between government forces and protesters, who blame local mismanagement of provincial affairs for the drying of the lake.
With the rapid evaporation of lake waters and the increase in salt concentration, certain sea weeds have turned the lake water red.
Iranian environmentalists have warned that without “speedy, serious and national action”, salt storms will develop that could reach as far as Tehran province.