EghtesadOnline: Soil, water and electricity projects in West Azarbaijan Province were inaugurated Tuesday in the presence of President Hassan Rouhani and Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian.
The development plans in the northwestern province include dam projects as well as irrigation and drainage networks, the Energy Ministry news website Paven reported.
An estimated $215 million were spent on the projects that include provision of potable water to 400,000 people and 46,000 hectares of farmland.
One of the projects is the Karamabad Dam in Poldasht County. It is built on Aras River that starts in Turkey, flows through Armenia, Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Iran and finally emptying to the Kura River in the Republic of Azerbaijan, according to Financial Tribune.
With a capacity of 54 million cubic meters of water, the dam will supply water to 20,000 hectares of farmlands in the vicinity of Aras River in Poldasht and Showt counties.
Another project is Silveh Dam, constructed on the Lavin River in Piranshahr County, which can hold 163 mcm of water.
The primary purpose of the dam is interbasin transfer for 13,000 hectares of farmland. It will also supply water to the famous Urmia Lake basin to help replenish the troubled lake.
An estimated 2.7 billion cubic meters of water has been released from dams in the province, into the lake since the beginning of the current water year (September).
Urmia Lake, on the verge of drying up in the recent past, now holds 5 billion cubic meters of water – up 100% compared to last year when it held 2.5 billion cubic meters. The lake's water level has reached 1271.8 cm, up 1.5 cm compared to last year.
Over the years the lake 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.
150 MW Power Plant
Sardasht Dam and Power Plant, constructed on the Little Zab River in Sardasht County, were also inaugurated.
The dam has a capacity of 387 mcm and supports a hydroelectric power station with a capacity of 150 MW.
To provide water for over 6,500 hectares of farmland in Khoy County, Buyla Push Dam started operation on Tuesday.
Built on Ghotour River, the dam will also supply 20 villages with potable water.
With 60 kilometers of water distribution network, the dam cost $4 million.
With the launch of the new dams, West Azarbaijan Province, with 3.5 million people, now has 16 dams. Covering an area of 43,660 square kilometers, including Lake Urmia, the province borders Turkey, Iraq and Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
The government started work in 2014 on 120 soil and water projects in 12 border provinces at a cost of over $2 billion. Many of the projects are now complete.
The projects are key to the sustainable development plans in the border regions as they help promote livelihood, improve living standards, create jobs, reduce poverty and strengthen territorial integrity in the border regions.