TEHRAN (FNA) - United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Gary Lewis hailed efforts made by Tehran to revive the world’s largest lake in Northwestern Iran.
"Life has returned to the dying Salt Lake in North-West Iran. The effort to restore what had been broken is succeeding,” Lewis said in a statement about the Lake Orumiyeh (Urmia) after he has recently visited it after four years.
"I was able to see water. Not nearly enough, but much more than last time. The lake is reviving. And this revival is the result of an immensely successful collaborative effort involving many players – some Iranian, some foreign," he added.
Lake Orumiyeh was once Iran’s largest lake. In its prime, it was the second largest saltwater lake in the world. But years of man-made disruption – from the frenzy of 60 years of dam-building to the massive over-use of feeder rivers – had diverted the natural flow of sweet water from the surrounding basin into the salty lake. As a result, it simply dried out. It died at the hands of humans.
In late June 2014, President Hassan Rouhani warned of the dire consequences that the drying of the 3rd largest saltwater lake on Earth would have for the Iranian and regional people, and ordered the start of executive operations to rehabilitate Lake Orumiyeh.
"Lake Orumiyeh is in especial conditions and the continued trend of its drying can have harmful impacts on the regional and Iranian people," Rouhani said, addressing a workgroup set up to save the Orumiyeh lake in Tehran on Sunday.
He said that the lake shouldn’t be left in such a situation, and stressed the government's readiness to provide for all the costs and expenses which might be needed for the rehabilitation of the lake.