EghtesadOnline: An estimated 2.7 billion cubic meters of water has been released from dams in West Azarbaijan Province, namely Boukan Dam into Urmia Lake since the beginning of the current water year (September), director of the provincial Regional Water Company said Sunday.
"Of the total volume, 1.5 billion cubic meters was released in the past two months following heavy rainfall in the province," Kioumars Daneshjou was quoted as saying by ILNA.
Urmia Lake now holds 5 billion cubic meters of water – up 100% compared to last year when the volume was 2.5 billion cubic meters.
The lake's water level has reached 1271.8 cm, 1.5 cm increase compared to last year, according to Financial Tribune.
"Since September the area of the inland body of water has risen by 870 sq km and stands at 3,186 square km," the water official noted.
Located between the provinces of East and West Azarbaijan, Urmia Lake is a closed water body fed through 21 permanent and 39 seasonal rivers.
It depleted significantly due to a variety of factors, including construction of a 15 km causeway to shorten travel time between Urmia and Tabriz and construction of several dams that have choked off water supply from the mountains on either side of the lake.
Boukan is the largest clay-core dam in the province, located 35 km southeast of the city with the same name. The dam supplies over 100 million cubic meters of freshwater to Miandoab County and a big part of Tabriz in East Azarbaijan, as well as meeting the water demand of industries. Some 55,000 hectares of farmlands in Ajabshir and Azarshahr neighborhoods are fed by Boukan.
Less than 20 years ago, Urmia Lake was Iran’s largest inland body of water.
According to Farhad Sarkhosh, the head of Urmia Lake Restoration Program, the project to divert water from Kani Sib Dam in West Azarbaijan Province to Urmia Lake is on track.
The 120-km pipeline will transfer 650 million cubic meters of water per annum. Water transfer, both from domestic and foreign bodies, had long been proposed as one of the solutions to ULRP managers.