Urmia Lake Current Situation
The lake has faced extreme water loss in recent years due to overuse and mismanagement. Over the last thirty years the population in the lake basin has been doubled and the agricultural area fed by water resources of the lake basin has tripled. The mean annual water level is currently more than four meters below the critical level (1274 m above sea level) needed to sustain ecosystems and In October 2015, it reached to the lowest level and southern parts of the lake totally dried. (Fig. 1 and 2).
Fig. 1: Mean annual water level in Urmia Lake
Fig. 2: land sat image of Urmia Lake
A wide range of users continue to extract water from the basin that feeds the lake and precipitation decreases by 18 percent in Urmia Lake Basin (ULB) compare to its long-term record. Besides, evaporation loss rate and regional demand on water of different sectors, especially agriculture have increased. Therefore, inflows to the lake have decreased drastically and the situation has been exacerbated by continuous droughts, resulting in reduction of renewable water resources and the lake’s water levels at an alarming rate.
Fig.3: Urmia Lake water level
Table. 1: Urmia Lake Level