Water level rising in Urmia Lake

Financial Tribune – A round 2.46 billion cubic meters of water has been released from dams in West Azarbaijan Province into Lake Urmia since the beginning of the current water year (last September), managing director of the provincial Regional Water Company said.

“Of the total volume, 1.86 billion cubic meters was released in the past four months following good rainfall in the province,” ISNA quoted Kioumars Daneshjou as saying.

The amount of rainwater in the catchment area of the lake has increased by 26% compared to last year and risen over 47% compared to the long-term average.

The lake’s water level has reached 1271.7 cm, 1.5 cm up compared to last year.

“Since last September the area of the inland body of water has risen by 1,364 sq km and is now 3,087 square km,” Daneshjou noted.

Currently, the lake holds 4.6 bcm of water, about double last year’s volume of 2.5 bcm.

Located between the provinces of East and West Azarbaijan, Lake Urmia is a closed water body fed through 21 permanent and 39 seasonal rivers.

Less than 20 years ago, the lake was Iran’s largest inland body of water. However, 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.