Thursday, May 26, 2011

Iran's Lake Urmia is Drying Up

The northwest corner of Iran is a beautiful land rich in human and physical history.  Formerly a population of Armenians and now a mixture of Azeri Turks and Persians live in the shadow of mountains and the shores of Lake Urmia.  Now however, the largest lake in the Middle East and third largest salt water lake in the world is at risk of suffering the same fate as the Aral Sea.

How Lake Urmia should appear.  Click "Sat" to see current condition of Lake Urmia.  Notice how there are islands in the south and the exposed white salt beds along the eastern and southern shoreline.

Lake Urmia has been shrinking for the last fifteen years and sixty percent of it is now gone.  The reason for the loss is mostly human caused with natural drought only making matters worse.  Thirty-five dams have been constructed on feeder rivers since the decline and even more are planned.  Most of the water is being diverted to  irrigate farms in Iran's Azerbaijan provinces.

The decline of the lake will hurt Iran's tourist industry and destroy the fishing industry.  Sadly, the most ironic impact of the lake's downfall will destroy the farming industry which the irrigation dams were meant to save.  Like the Aral Sea's decline, the retreating lake will allow the exposed salt on the salt beds to be picked up by winds and land on the farm fields.  The farm fields will then be salted and destroyed for hundreds if not thousands of years like the fields of Carthage.  Lastly, the lake's environmental role as a weather moderator will end and the region will experience severe seasonal shifts.


Umid Urmulu said...

Study of Lake Urmia Level Fluctuations
National Park and Preserve Lake Urmia
National Park Lake Urmia Photo Gallery

Catholicgauze said...

Umid Urmulu,
Thanks for the links.

bagher said...

Request Google to change its Logo to Lake Urmia...