Salt lakes are numerous and have significant economical, ecological, recreational, and cultural values. Raising the awareness about salt lakes, nature of threats, impacts from human activities, and their special management requirements is one of the biggest challenges. Many salt lakes are likely to dry and unfortunately international bodies have not properly recognized salt lakes as important aquatic ecosystems. The aim of this paper is to provide a global awareness about drying of salt lakes and their environmental impacts. The case study is Orumieh Lake, one of the largest salt lakes on the earth. The catchment area of the lake contains 21 permanent and ephemeral streams together with 39 episodic rivers flowing through agricultural, urban, and industrial areas that drain into this terminal lake. Drying of this lake would lead to salty winds, diseases, and cancers that would evacuate more than 20 cities. Beside effective management and conservation measures, international pressure from appropriate organizations would be effective for the conservation of many salt lakes.
Aquatic ecosystem, environmental threats, Orumieh Lake, salt lake
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