Saturday, April 1, 2023

Iran, Australia to Save Lake Urmia from Drying Out

Iran and Australia are to work together to save Iran’s Lake Urmia, which is almost drying out.

In a recent Farsi article, IRNA has highlighted Australia’s efforts to save its Murray–Darling basin, which is very similar to the drying Lake Urmia in Iran. You may find the piece below:

The Murray–Darling basin in Australia, which bears a striking resemblance to Iran’s Lake Urmia, was saved from drying out due to measures adopted by Canberra. Australian experts are to converge in Sharif University of Technology in Tehran on April 19, 2017 to discuss the matter and share their 20 years of experience on that.

Climatic change and its effect on nature is a global and undeniable fact and has engulfed the planet Earth in its entirety. Meantime, the way that existing resources are managed has also contributed heavily to this natural trend.

Amid these ups and downs, lakes and lagoons have been subject to drying out. One of the basins suffering from low water levels was Murray–Darling, but was saved thanks to two decades of efforts by experts.

Murray–Darling bears a marked similarity to Lake Urmia. So, an Iranian delegation travelled to Australia to visit Murray–Darling, exchange experience and technical knowhow, and draw on Canberra’s experience in managing basins. The team comprised of members of a commission tasked with reviving the body of water, the Chamber of Commerce, agriculture officials, and energy authorities.

The trip came within the framework of a water agreement signed between the University of Melbourne, Sharif University of Technology and the commission tasked with preserving, managing and reviving the ecosystem of Lake Urmia. The deal was clinched last fall when an Italian delegation travelled to Iran.

The Murray–Darling basin is a large geographical area located in southeastern Australia. It covers the states of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Australian Capital Territory. It covers one-seventh of Australia’s soil and is regarded as the most famous agricultural region in the country. The basin has been named after rivers Murray and Darling.

The basin receives little direct rainfall, and the volume of water it carries is large only by Australian standards. A rather large number of swans live there, which was suffering from drought.

Massoud Tajrishi, the head of an office charged with planning the activities undertaken by the commission responsible for reviving Lake Urmia, told IRNA that a national development congress is held at Tehran’s Sharif University of Technology on April 19. He said experts from the University of Melbourne are to take the podium at the event to share with participants their 20 years of experience in the fields of law, marketing and water allocation.

Prior to that conference, he said, officials of the commission tasked with reviving Lake Urmia and a team comprising Australian water and hydrology experts held a joint meeting. The session was aimed at sharing information on issues pertaining to Lake Urmia as well as on activities and operations carried out by the commission plus discussing areas of cooperation.

Tajrishi noted that the mutual collaboration is in line with a joint Memorandum of Understanding signed between Iran and Australia on cooperation in the field of water. Under the MoU, the Sharif University of Technology and the University of Melbourne are to work together on water affairs.

He said Australia’s Murray–Darling basin and Iran’s Lake Urmia are both grappling with problems such as low water levels, climatic changes and challenges regarding supplying water to meet environmental needs.

Australia spent $30 billion over two decades and managed to save Murray–Darling, he said.

One of the measures adopted was to create a regional market to sell water, which was done successfully.

He also touched upon Iran-Australia cooperation in the field of water and water resources. He said the Iranian and Australian governments have also agreed to establish a joint research centre for water, with efforts being concentrated on Lake Urmia.

People from the Chamber of Commerce, some universities and the Energy Ministry are working on that.

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