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Iranian MPs Propose to Import Water from Armenia, Georgia in Exchange for Oil and Gas

A restoration plan has been proposed to save Lake Urmia in which Iran is willing to trade oil and gas with Armenia and Georgia in exchange for importing water, Iranian MP Ali Alilu was cited as saying last week.

As reported by Tehran Times, Alilu said Lake Sevan in Armenia and Kura River in Georgia are the two water sources to provide Lake Urmia with water. College faculty members, the MP added, have already done researches on the possibility of transferring water from the two countries.

Urmia Lake Revival Committee representative Khalil Saie, in turn, stated that Iran’s parliament speaker Ali Larijani and his Georgian counterpart David Usupashvili have also discussed the plan during a September 3 meeting where Larijani proposed the exchange of oil for water. However, Saie added, the revival plan is yet to be finalized since there are those who have opposed the project.

The official has also suggested that Lake Van, in Turkey, be another less expensive option on the table for transferring water to the lake. 

Lake Urmia which was once the largest lake in the Middle East and the sixth largest saltwater lake on earth with a surface area of approximately 5,200 square kilometer is dying down. The lake has declined six meters for the past 13 years and lost 85 percent of its water.

Note, Armenia is also facing a serious water shortage. Based on the findings of a study conducted by the USAID Clean Energy and Water Program, over the last 6-8 years the level of groundwater resources and groundwater springs in the Ararat Valley has declined significantly. 

“More than 30 communities in the region are currently suffering from drinking and irrigation water shortages which has adversely affected the socio-economic conditions of the communities, as well as the population's quality of life,” the researchers had pointed out.