Oroumieh Lake, the largest lake in the Middle East and the third largest salt water lake on earth has reportedly shrunken by 60 percent and could disappear entirely in just a few years according to experts.
Drought and increased demands for agricultural water in the lake's basin has led to the rise of the salinity of the lake to more than 300 g/L during recent years. Large areas of the lake bed have also been desiccated, resulting to the degradation of its fishery.
Its current problem threatens agriculture and tourism in northwest Iran. Storms sometimes carry the salt far to the farmlands which are home to apples, grapes, walnuts, almonds, onions, potatoes and aromatic herbal drinks. The situation has also weakened hotel business and tourism activities in the area as investors observe the receding water.
Experts fear of a "salt tsunami", warning that the lake would dry out within three to five years, endangering the life of millions of people.