Lake Urmia is the name of a lake in the northwestern part of Iran. According to the country’s divisions, this lake is located between the two provinces of West Azerbaijan and East Azerbaijan. The total area of the lake was about 6,000 square kilometers in the summer of 2015, which is the 25th largest lake in the world in terms of area.
Lake Urmia is the largest lake in Iran and the second largest lake in the world. The water of this lake is very salty and is fed more often from the Zarrineh, Simineh, Aji Cahy, Gadar, Barandouz, Shahar Chay, Nazlu and Zula rivers.
Lake Urmia, along with its once approximately 102 islands, is protected as a national park by the Iranian Department of Environment.
With more than 100 small rocky islands, the lake is home to many migratory birds such as Flamingo, Pelican, Spoonbill, Ibis, Stork, Shelduck, Avocet, Stilt, and Laridae. Because of the over-salinity of the lake, no fish live in this lake. However, the Lake Urmia is one of the most important habitats of Brine Shrimp. This hard skin is one of the main sources of feeding migratory birds, including flamingos.
Lake Urmia has been shrinking for a long time, with an annual evaporation rate of 0.6 to 1 m (24 to 39 in). The lake has been drying since 2006 and is now in danger of full drying. Surveying satellite imagery indicates that until 2014, the lake has lost 88 percent of its area (previous reports only noted the loss of 25 to 50 percent of the lake area). There are many reasons mentioned for the lake’s drying, including droughts, the construction of a highway on the lake, and the excessive use of water resources in the catchment area of the lake. A recent study by several researchers in North America shows that droughts only reduce the rainfall by 5 percent in the lake watershed, and human factors include ambitious economic development projects along with a 15-kilometer highway construction on a lake with a 1.2 Kilometer lane, has left the lake’s situation in crisis.