Iran, Australia to coop. on Lake Urmia restoration

News ID: 3757414 -
TEHRAN, Aug. 31 (MNA) – Iran and Australia have agreed to launch an aqua research center to breathe new life into Lake Urmia.

The agreement has been reached between Iran’s Sharif University of Technology and Australia’s University of Melbourne, noted Hossein Shahbaz, International Officer of Urmia Lake Restoration Program (URLP) Committee.

Negotiations have been carried out with the Australian university over formation of the joint aqua research center.

“An expert team from University of Melbourne arrived in Iran on Sunday and held a meeting with Sharif University officials while, later on Monday, they made a visit to Lake Urmia together with URLP members.”

The official underlined that the Australian delegation also attended a meeting at Urmia University which will as the scientific arm of the joint project in West Azerbaijan province.

Today, the visiting team was presented with reports from Iranian executive agencies involved in water fields where the agencies delineated their capabilities, services and raised their problems and demands. The session was followed a panel discussion which dealt with water challenges.

Michael Stewardson, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Infrastructure Engineering at The University of Melbourne, emphasized the complexity of water issues noting that they cannot be resolved in the short run.

He went on to maintain that in Australia also, the administration process of water management has a slow pace; “nevertheless, activities were observed during the visit the Iranian lake that will yield extraordinarily successful outcomes in near future.”

Dr. Stewardson further underscored that “promoting the culture of comprehensive cooperation marks an important part of the project and in order to achieve the goal in the ten-year time horizon, the belief need to be fostered that every single individual needs to participate in restoration of Lake Urmia.

“We intend to exchange experiences with Iranian counterparts in order to expedite resolution of water issues in Iran by achieving public participation as the strategic arm of the government and society,” he concluded.

In the late 1990s, Lake Urmia, in north-western Iran, was twice as large as Luxembourg and the largest salt-water lake in the Middle East. Since then it has shrunk substantially, and was sliced in half in 2008.

HA/3757097

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