Drought of Lake Urmia creates 4,400 sq.km desert land

The probable drought of Lake Urmia in northwest of Iran will create a desert land, measuring 4,400 square kilometers in area, the Fars News agency quoted West Azerbaijan Province's Agriculture Department Director Masoud Mohammadian as saying.
The desertification will change the region's climate and will devastate farmlands, he added.
The head of the Iranian West Azerbaijan Province's Environment Organization said 70 percent of the Urmia (Orumiyeh) Lake has been drought up.
According to ISNA, Hassan Abbasnejad said the Iranian government started some measures to revive Lake Urmia by cloud seeding, commissioning the new irrigation methods, etc. in last solar year (ended on 18 March 2011) but the process is being carried out slowly.
"The main problem is lack of finance, then now, 300, 000 hectares of lake became salt land," he added.
Abbaszadeh said that Lake Urmia needs 3.1 billion cubic meters of water per year to survive.
Illegal use of water flowing into the lake for watering by rural population, construction of dams and illegal objects on its banks, is also among the problems of the Lake Urmia.
Each litre of water in Lake Urmia contains 330 grams of salt. Previously, the figure stood at 160-170 grams per litre.
The Iranian government approved $900 million finance bill to save the lake from drought, but the process is being carried out slowly.