Iran's Lake Urmia - a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is drying up fast
The third largest salt water lake in the world is drying up fast and experts fear another environmental disaster like in the Aral Sea. Lake Urmia, Iran. July 2011.
Lake Urmia is a salt lake located between the Iranian regions of East and West Azerbaijan. It is the largest inland lake of Middle East, with an area of approximately 5,200 square Km and the third largest salt water lake in the world. Declared UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1976 for its unique ecosystem, the lake is now under continuous drainage and according to experts in the absence of an immediate action it will disappear altogether within a few years. The high rate of evaporation, extended drought, wrong irrigation policies, construction of a controversial causeway bridge that connects the cities of Tabriz and Urmia, and the presence of several dams are the main causes of the drying up. Many Iranians fear Urmia could go the way of Central Asia's Aral Sea.