In recent years Lake Urmia, the largest saline lake in the Middle East located in northwestern Iran has undergone severe environmental changes. As a result of drought and anthropogenic impacts, the area of the Lake has been shrunk and the water level has been dropped. In this article the environmental, political and socio-economic impacts of drought in Lake Urmia basin has been reviewed and the obstacles regarding institutional water frameworks in national and regional levels has been studied and assessed. Furthermore, lack of sufficient mitigation and adaptation policies and inadequate attention to the environmental impact assessment during megaprojects has been discussed. The most crucial impacts have been realized as ecological and environmental consequences of lake drying up on all over the Lake Urmia catchment. In associated with these consequences, several scarce species of flora and fauna are exposed to the danger of extinction, and polluted air ensued by the salt storms affect the daily life of people in the region. In addition, this event has a direct influence on the economy of the region. Therefore, the implementation of a holistic institutional-based remediation program to accomplish lake restoration seems to be inevitable.
Key words: Lake Urmia management, Lake drought, human activities, climate change, environmental impact assessment.
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