EghtesadOnline: Kani Sib Dam project in Piranshahr, West Azarbaijan Province, as one of the sources to supply water to the troubled Urmia Lake, is near completion, head of Urmia Lake Restoration Program said.
“Started in 2016, construction of the dam will be over in September,” IRNA quoted Farhad Sarkhosh as saying.
“With a capacity to hold 90 million cubic meters of water, the dam will divert more water to the recently revived lake,” he added.
The project includes laying 120 km of pipelines to transfer 650 million cubic meters of water per annum.
Water transfer, both from domestic and foreign bodies, had long been proposed as a solution to restore the lake. So far, more than 110 mcm of water from Shahid Kazemi Dam and Shahrchay Dam have been released into the lake.
Other measures have been taken to help replenish the lake, including efficient management of surface and underground water in the lake’s vicinity, sealing 4,000 illegal wells near the region and promoting sustainable farming on 6,000 plus hectares.
In addition, programs are underway to treat wastewater from nearby cities like 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.
Once the second-largest saltwater lake in the Middle East, the lake attracted birds and bathers to bask in its turquoise waters in northwest Iran. However, in the early 1970s nearly three decades of drought shriveled the basin, shrinking it by a shocking 80%.
Climate change, long dry spells, unrestrained damming and excessive water use, especially in the inefficient agro sector contributed to depletion of the lake in the past decade.
The volume of water in the lake has more than doubled since 2014 when the restoration program was launched. It now holds over 5.1 billion cubic meters of water.