A fisherman tries to catch fish at the dried-up Zayanderud River in Isfahan. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl/Files
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As a child, Mohammad Rahmanpour spent his summers swimming in Lake Orumieh in northwestern Iran – then the largest in the Middle East.A few decades ago the lake measured 140 km by 55 km but now only 5 percent of its water remains.Water usage increased 10 percent in cities such as Tehran between May and the start of summer in June, the state news agency IRNA quoted city officials as saying.The cause of the crisis is not in residential use; agriculture accounts for about 90 percent of water consumption, with much of it being used inefficiently.In 2012, the world body launched a pilot program to work with farmers near Lake Orumieh.Farmers learned how to make compost, switched to organic-based fertilizers and attended weekly classes on water management which led to a 35-percent drop in consumption.The U.N. has since expanded the program to 41 other villages with about 13,000 farmers benefiting from it. In May, the Japanese government donated $1 million to save Lake Orumieh.
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