Orumieh Lake facing crisis
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Orumieh Lake, which is registered as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, will dry up within three years, announced a local official in West Azarbaijan’s Department of Environment. “Given the current trend of the environmental crisis, Orumieh Lake will be completely dried within three years,” Hassan Abbasnejad said on Sunday, Mehr News Agency reported. Orumieh Lake is a saltwater lake in northwestern Iran and is home to various migratory birds, including flamingos, pelicans, spoonbills, ibises, storks, avocets, stilts and gulls. The lake is located between the provinces of East Azarbaijan and West Azarbaijan. It is the third largest saltwater lake on earth with a surface area of 5,200 square kilometers. The official noted that the destruction of the lake will create serious environmental problems for the region’s ecological system. Abbasnejad also said that due to its high evaporation rate, the deepest part of the lake is only two meters deep and the lake has shrunk by 60 percent, resulting in the rise in salinity and a fall in its oxygen content. The decline in oxygen has endangered the life of the only living creature in the lake, namely Artemia, which serves as a source of food for flamingos and other migratory birds.
Abbasnejad cited the high evaporation rate, reduction of water pouring into the lake, low precipitation and overexploitation of the underground water resources as the main causes of the dilemma.