Publishe Date: 7:45 PM - 6/29/2014 | Print

Iranian President Orders Start of Executive Operations to Rehabilitate Lake Orumiyeh

Politics - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned of the dire consequences that the drying of the 3rd largest saltwater lake on Earth would have for the Iranian and regional people, and ordered the start of executive operations to rehabilitate Lake Orumiyeh.

"Lake Orumiyeh is in especial conditions and the continued trend of its drying can have harmful impacts on the regional and Iranian people," Rouhani said, addressing a workgroup set up to save the Orumiyeh lake in Tehran on Sunday.

He said that the lake shouldn’t be left in such a situation, and stressed the government's readiness to provide for all the costs and expenses which might be needed for the rehabilitation of the lake.

In a relevant development on Wednesday, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Iranian officials conferred on ways to cooperate in saving the dying lake in Northwestern Iran.

UN Assistant Secretary General and the UNDP regional director for Asia and the Pacific Haoliang Xu said that he did not know the lake's problem was so crucial, and that visiting the lake was a great experience.

In a meeting with the governor-general of West Azerbaijan province on Wednesday, Haoliang Xu said, "One of the principal works which we are following up here in Iran is issues related to sustainable development, specially in the field of environment."

"During our cooperation with Iran we were able to offer three million US dollars of credit sources for three pilot plans of Shadegan, Parishan and Orumiyeh lakes and we expanded the results of these activities to settle other environmental problems," he said.

Haoliang XU added that reviving Lake Orumiyeh needs 20 to 25 billion cubic meters of water and it seems that there is a kind of imbalance between economic consumption, human consumption and the lake water needs.

Early in October, during a cabinet meeting in Tehran, the ministers and President Rouhani okayed a project to rehabilitate Lake Orumiyeh from dry-up.

Recently, some local officials in Orumiyeh and Tabriz, capitals of Iran's West and East Azerbaijan provinces respectively, have expressed concerns about the environmental disaster due to the shrinkage of the lake, and have called on the government to save it to prevent the environmental degradation of the body of water.

Located in Northwestern Iran between the provinces of East and West Azerbaijan and near Iran's border with Turkey, Orumiyeh is the largest lake in the Middle East and the third largest saltwater lake on Earth.

A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and a Ramsar (an international treaty for the protection of wetlands) site has warned that the lake has shrunk considerably in the past years and could disappear entirely.

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