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EghtesadOnline: The project to divert water from Kani Sib Dam in West Azarbaijan Province to Urmia Lake has had a work-in-progress rate of 73% since 2016, the head of Urmia Lake Restoration Program said.

"The project that includes laying 120 km of pipelines will transfer 650 million cubic meters of water per annum," the Persian daily Donya-e-Eqtesad quoted Farhad Sarkhosh as saying on Wednesday.

Water transfer, both from domestic and foreign bodies of water, had long been proposed as one of the solutions for ULRP.

He highlighted measures taken so far to help replenish the lake, including efficient management of surface and underground water in the lake’s vicinity, which so far has helped saved 150 mcm of water, Financial Tribune reported.

Improving water management, sealing over 4,000 illegal wells in the region and promoting sustainable irrigation over 6,000 hectares of farmland are among efforts taken to revive the depleted lake, which has become a serious source of concern for the people of the region, environmentalists, conservationists and economic experts. 

The official said rivers have been dredged and cleared to facilitate the flow of water.

Reportedly, the construction of dams over the rivers for urban and agricultural use had deprived the world famous lake of water. 

Now, according to Sarkhosh, a share of water from the rivers has been specified to help revive the water body. Moreover 4,000 agricultural wells have been equipped with smart water meters.

“We will install smart meters at every authorized water well,” the ULRP official said.

Around 650 million cubic meters of water is expected to feed the lake as soon as the water transfer plan is implemented.

In addition, programs are underway to treat wastewater from nearby cities such as Tabriz and Urmia that can annually provide 105 mcm of water for the lake.

Located between the provinces of East and West Azarbaijan, Urmia Lake has been struggling with serious drought for years. Its depletion is due to climate change, the long dry spell, unrestrained damming and excessive water use, especially in the inefficient agriculture sector. 

The volume of water in the lake has more than doubled since 2014 when the ULRP was crated. However, the extreme lack of rainfall and budget constraints has prevented ULRP from achieving its declared aims.


Urmia lake Water Restoration Kani Sib Dam