Lake Uromiyeh (Islamic Republic of Iran)
Lake Uromiyeh is a vast hypersaline lake in northwestern Iran shared between West and East Azerbaijan provinces. It receives surface and ground water flows from a vast watershed. The lake is a National Park, a Ramsar Site and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and is the largest inland lake in Iran. Several fresh-brackish water satellite wetlands exist mainly to the south of the lake, a few of which are registered as Ramsar Sites. The lake and its satellite wetlands provide globally significant ecological services.
Since late 1990s the basin has been experiencing rather severe continuous drought which has dramatically affected the hydrological regime of the basin. During the same period, construction of several storage dams, significant increases in cultivated areas as well as increased abstraction of ground water resources has resulted in continuous reduction of water inflow into the lake. Presently the lake is under very severe pressure such that major parts of it are completely dry and vast salt beds are exposed to wind erosion with significant negative environmental impacts on human populations, settlement areas and croplands.
During 2004-12, Department of Environment of Iran (DOE) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) conducted a joint “Conservation of Iranian Wetlands Project” aiming to develop and execute an ecosystem-based management plan of the lake. Also, since 2010, a national high level committee was organized to identify approaches and conduct programmes for the lake’s survival.
KeywordsBiosphere Reserve Desiccation Drought Hypersaline Lake Uromiyeh Ramsar site satellite wetlands
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