Anorak | Iran’s Magical Lake Oroumieh Is Dying – Photos Of A Manmade Disaster

Iran’s Magical Lake Oroumieh Is Dying – Photos Of A Manmade Disaster

by | 24th, February 2014



IRAN is not all gurning mullahs, mentalists and bigots. It is the setting to some stunning landscapes, like Lake Oroumieh (aks Lake Urmia), a landscape of solidified salt in northwestern Iran. Oroumieh, one of the biggest saltwater lakes on Earth, has shrunk more than 80 percent to 1,000 square kilometres (nearly 400 square miles) in the past decade.

Oroumeih, 370 miles (600 kilometers) northwest of the Islamic Republic’s capital in Tehran, was the largest lake in the Middle East and the world’s third-largest salt lake. In 1977, Unesco declared it a Biosphere Reserve.

It’s shrinking. Since 1999, the lake’s surface area has shrunk from 2,300 square miles to less than 900.





What’s to blame? Well, agriculture accounts for 90 per cent of water use in its 50,000 sq km basin. Rivers are damned. Wetlands that feed the lake are drained.




New York Times:

Along what used to be a lakeshore boulevard, worn-down snack bars and dressing rooms are testament to the days when people from across Iran would come to water-ski on the lake or cover themselves in its black mud, which is said to have healing powers.

About two decades ago, a local villager, Mokhtar Cheraghi, began to notice the water line receding. “First a hundred meters, then two hundred meters. After a while, we couldn’t see the shoreline anymore,” he said, standing in what was once his thriving cafe, Cheraghi’s Beach. “We kept waiting for the water to return, but it never did.”

Most people in the area blame the half-dozen major dams the government has built in the region for the lake’s disappearance. The dams have greatly reduced the flow of water in the 11 rivers that feed into the lake…




The Lake Urmia Conservation Institute has chilling  news.

According to Mr. Nadir Gazipour (Iranian MP): ( Radio Farda  ) 50 villages are completely abandoned and empty due to the drying of Lake Urmia. The parliamentarian said due to the drying of the lake, the surrounding areas have become unfit for living. “People have been obliged to leave 50 villages. If Lake Urmia dries up completely, there will be salt storms in the country. It requires billions of dollars to revive the lake,” he said.




There are accusations that Iran has a plan:

The situation also has major demographics/ethnic roots, implications and impact (Iran’s demographic and ethnicity map as of 2004 is shown in Figure 1). The neighboring areas of the lake are inhabited by Azerbaijani Turks, which account for more than third of Iran’s population (about 30 million people).


salt lake iran


The Iranian government has a solid record of abusing minority rights. For example, Azerbaijani Turks, as well as Arabs, Kurds, Balouch, Qashqayi Turks, and other ethnic minorities, do not have the right to read and write in their own language. In recent history this was one of the major sources of instability in Iran. The Iranian government had used various pressure tactics to control and manage the situation, in spite of several cases of ethnic groups uprisings. For example, during 1946 to 1947, the Azerbaijani Turks declared their independence and established the “Azerbaijan People’s Government.” During that same period, the Kurds declared their autonomy and established their government as well. Those autonomous governments were in power for

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Posted: 24th, February 2014 | In: In Pictures, News, Photojournalism Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink