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Lake Urmiya [september free report]

by Intqam Huseynov | 09-09-2023 14:36 recommendations 0

 The Causes and Consequences of the Drying Up of Lake Urmia

Lake Urmia, located in northwestern Iran, was once the largest lake in the Middle East and a significant environmental asset for the region. However, in recent years, it has been rapidly drying up, causing numerous ecological, economic, and social consequences. This article aims to explore the causes behind the drying up of Lake Urmia and the subsequent implications.

Causes of the Drying Up

1. Climate Change:
One of the primary factors contributing to the drying up of Lake Urmia is climate change. Rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and increased evaporation rates have significantly affected the lake's water levels. These climate-related changes shorten the duration of snowpacks, reduce the inflow of freshwater, and intensify evaporation, leading to a decline in the lake's water volume.

2. Decreased River Inflows:
Historically, several rivers flowing into Lake Urmia, including the Aji Chay and Zarrineh Roud, have been its main sources of freshwater. However, over the past few decades, river inflows have witnessed a significant decline due to various human activities such as the construction of dams and water diversions for agricultural purposes. This reduced inflow has exacerbated the drying-up process.

3. Unsustainable Water Management Practices:
Water mismanagement practices have also played a crucial role in the drying up of Lake Urmia. Unregulated groundwater extraction, particularly for agricultural irrigation, has caused a drop in groundwater levels, which in turn reduces the lake's water supply. Additionally, the lack of efficient water-conservation methods and improper drainage systems leads to inefficient water use and increased water loss.

 4. Salinity and Pollution:
Lake Urmia has been experiencing increasing salinity levels due to the decreasing water volume. As the lake's water levels drop, the concentrated salts become more prevalent, making the remaining water more saline. This rise in salinity affects the lake's ecosystem, leading to the destruction of flora and fauna in the region. Moreover, pollution from industrial and agricultural activities has had adverse effects on the lake's water quality, further exacerbating its degradation.

 Consequences of the Drying Up

1. Environmental Impact:
The drying up of Lake Urmia has had severe environmental consequences. The reduction in water levels and increased salinity have led to the destruction of aquatic habitats and reduced biodiversity. The lake was known for its unique wetland ecosystems and its role as a critical stopover for migratory birds. The shrinking lake has disrupted this delicate ecological balance, leading to the loss of plant and animal species. Additionally, the exposed lakebed has contributed to dust storms and air pollution in the surrounding areas.

 2. Economic Challenges:
Lake Urmia's drying up has posed significant economic challenges for the region. The diminishing lake has had a detrimental impact on the local agriculture and tourism sectors, which heavily relied on the lake's water resources. Reduced water availability for irrigation has affected crop yields and led to economic losses for farmers. The decline in water-based recreational activities, such as boating and fishing, has impacted local tourism and the livelihoods of communities dependent on it.

 3. Social Implications:
The drying up of Lake Urmia has also resulted in social consequences for the communities living in the region. As agricultural productivity declines due to water scarcity, farmers face income losses and potential displacement, leading to increased poverty levels. Moreover, the environmental degradation and economic hardship can contribute to social unrest, migration, and conflicts over diminishing resources.

 Mitigation and Restoration Efforts

Recognizing the severity of the situation, both the Iranian government and international organizations have initiated various measures to mitigate the drying up of Lake Urmia and restore its ecological balance. These efforts include:

- Implementing water management plans to regulate river diversions and reduce uncontrolled groundwater extraction.
- Construction of new dams and reservoirs to increase freshwater inflows and improve water storage capacity.
- Introduction of water conservation practices, such as efficient irrigation techniques and raising public awareness about the importance of water conservation.
- Encouraging sustainable agricultural practices to minimize pollution and reduce water usage.
- Establishing protected areas and promoting habitat restoration to support the recovery of flora and fauna.

While these efforts are steps in the right direction, addressing the drying up of Lake Urmia requires long-term commitment, collaboration among stakeholders, and a comprehensive approach that includes climate change mitigation measures and sustainable water management practices.

In conclusion, the drying up of Lake Urmia is a complex issue with multiple causes, including climate change, reduced river inflows, water mismanagement, and pollution. The consequences range from environmental degradation and economic challenges to social implications. However, through dedicated mitigation and restoration efforts, there is hope for the recovery of Lake Urmia's ecosystem and the revitalization of the region's environmental and socioeconomic well-being. The main reason why the Iranian government did not prevent this natural disaster is political. In my opinion, this destructive policy, which is carried out due to the political processes taking place in the region, is not fair at all


  • Azerbaijan E-gen Ambassador Intqam Huseynov
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SangHyeon Park

  • SangHyeon Park says :
    Hello, I'm mentor Sanghyeon.
    Through this article, we learned that Iran's Lake Urmia is experiencing a problem of drying up, and furthermore, we got why. I hope that policymakers address this issue through fairer and more effective policies.
    Thank you for the good article.
    Posted 28-09-2023 16:59

Intqam Huseynov

  • Intqam Huseynov says :
    Thank you very much dear mentor☺️
    Posted 18-09-2023 03:47

Emmanuel  Dassah

  • Emmanuel Dassah says :
    Thank you for the educative article
    Posted 16-09-2023 09:22

Seeun Mentor

  • Seeun Mentor says :
    Hello, this is mentor Seeun!
    Great article about how and why lake Urmiya is drying up. I'm glad to hear that there are so many resoration efforts taking place!
    Thank you for your report, and kepp up the good work!
    Posted 12-09-2023 16:00

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