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Iranian dam comes on line to transfer water to Lake Urmia


A major dam has come on line on northwestern Iran as part of government’s efforts to revive Lake Urmia, an endangered UNESCO biosphere reserve where water level has increased in recent years to prevent an environmental catastrophe in one of Iran’s most populous and economically vibrant regions.

President Hassan Rouhani ordered the launch of Kani Sib Dam on Thursday as he virtually supervised an official ceremony to inaugurate the dam in the Kurdish-dominated region of Piranshahr near the border with Iraq.

An embankment dam, Kani Sib will feed 600 million cubic meters of water per year to Lake Urmia, located on the outskirts of its namesake city in the province of West Azerbaijan near the Turkish border.

A 35.5 kilometer tunnel being dug to transfer water from Kani Sib to Lake Urmia is nearly complete and will officially come on line in March or June.

Rouhani had made revitalization of Lake Urmia one of its key promises when he first ran for president in 2013.

He has touted the completion of the project as a major environmental success, saying life in major Iranian cities like Tabriz would have become extremely difficult if the massive lake had dried out.

The dam itself has cost 5 trillion rials or $20 million to build, according to Iranian Energy Ministry officials who said contractors are currently involved in a very complicated operation to dig the water transfer tunnel through an underground reserve which is believed to be around one kilometer in length.

Rouhani used the Thursday ceremony to inaugurate other water and electricity projects in three Iranian provinces.

The entire projects opened on Thursday, which included provision of clean water to villages and new power transmission lines, were worth 27 trillion rials ($110 million).




Source: Press TV



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