Saturday, February 22, 2014

Iran aiming to save Lake Oroumieh on the 38th Parallel

Iran's Lake Oroumieh, once one of the world's largest salt lakes (at 37.75 degrees North) has been rapidly declining due to watershed diversions and agricultural water use.  This week (late February 2014) experts gathered in northwestern Iran to develop plans for saving the lake, which now holds just 20 percent of the water it contained only a decade ago.  The nation's new president, Hassad Arani, made this effort an urgent priority.  As this article from ABC news reported, ""Rouhani stands by his campaign promise to revive the lake," [according to] Isa Kalantari, a popular scholar appointed by Rouhani to lead the rescue team."  Kalantari added: ""Don't blame nature and drought. Human beings, not climate change, are responsible for this situation. We dried up the lake because of our excessive demands and wrong methods. Now, we have to revive it ourselves. Five million people have to leave this region if the lake dies."
    As we traveled the 38th Parallel investigating such water issues, we had to skip over that section west of the Caspian Sea, because travel to Iran was not feasible.  Now the administration change and international effort to protect the lake have changed things, so perhaps we can visit that site someday and report back on this effort in this blog.