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Friday, January 31, 2014

First China loses a lake, now Iran

As reported here a couple days ago, China recently had a lake--twice the size of London--dry up, now it's Iran:

LAKE URMIA, Iran — After driving for 15 minutes over the bottom of what was once Iran’s largest lake, a local environmental official stepped out of his truck, pushed his hands deep into his pockets and silently wandered into the great dry plain, as if searching for water he knew he would never find.

Just an hour earlier, on a cold winter day here in western Iran, the official, Hamid Ranaghadr, had recalled how as recently as a decade ago, cruise ships filled with tourists plied the lake’s waters in search of flocks of migrating flamingos.

Now, the ships are rusting in the mud and the flamingos fly over the remains of the lake on their way to more hospitable locales. According to figures compiled by the local environmental office, only 5 percent of the water remains.

Iran is facing a water shortage potentially so serious that officials are making contingency plans for rationing in the greater Tehran area, home to 22 million, and other major cities around the country. President Hassan Rouhani has identified water as a national security issue, and in public speeches in areas struck hardest by the shortage he is promising to “bring the water back.”

Put this in perspective, too, with other environmental/water events here in the US:

--Texas has been in drought for years and is experiencing severe shrinking of their reservoirs for their major cities, including Austin;

--California has been experiencing the same long-term drought with shrinking reservoirs and, making things far worse, this year, to date, the dry spell has accelerated. Governor Jerry Brown has had to finally declare an emergency and ration water;

--Utah's Salt Lake has been famously shrinking for years.

So the question:   

At what point does humankind start paying attention and doing something about our environment?

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