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Iran's Lake Urmia Revives Amid Heavy Rains In Recent Months

Lake Urmia in northwest Iran was on the verge of dying, but has made a comeback after preservation efforts and heavy rains in 2019. April 2019

Recent prolonged and at times severe rains in Iran have helped put the country’s Lake Urmia on its way to revival, according to the governor of West Azerbaijan Province.

Lake Urmia, a salt lake, which once had a surface area of 5,000 square kilometers (almost 2,000sq miles) had shrank to just 700sq km in 2013. The reasons were both mismanagement by local and central governments and also a prolonged drought.

Situated in the mountains of northwest Iran, Lake Urmia is fed by 13 rivers and designated as a site of international importance under the UN Convention on Wetlands that was signed in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971.

Now, Governor Mohammad Mehdi Shahriari says the water keeps rising and the lake is more than half-way through to regain its former size, according to a report by IRNA on April 13.

The Iranian government put Lake Urmia on its agenda in 2013 and with the help of the UN and Japan efforts began to revive the lake.

As Urmia came back from 700 to 2,000sq km, the rains increased in the fall of 2018 and then intensified in March. Now Urmia’s surface is close to 3,000sq km and water level has increased by 59 centimeters or two feet compared with 2013, according to the governor.