“A lake is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” Henry David Thoreau
Iran is facing a serious and protracted water crisis and desertification as lakes and rivers dry up and once-fertile plains become barren. Lake Urmia is located in the northwest of Iran, between two main provinces of West Azerbaijan and East Azerbaijan. It was the biggest salt lake in the Middle East and the sixth-largest saltwater lake on Earth.
As a tourist destination in north-western Iran, Lake Urmia's shores bustled with restaurants and hotels. Vacationers bathed in the saline waters, smearing their bodies with the black mud that purportedly aided ailments from stiff joints to skin afflictions
Lake Urmia has lost about 85% of its surface area in the past 20 years. Many factors have contributed to its disappearance. In 2008, a nine-mile causeway between Urmia and Tabriz was built, effectively slicing Lake Urmia in half.
The disappearance of the lake endangers the ecosystem of all surrounding areas, agriculture and tourism sector. It will increase the frequency of salt storms, which will have serious health effects including respiratory and eye diseases.