A gardener sits on a tree near Lake Oroumieh, one of the world’s biggest saltwater lakes, which has shrunk more than 80 percent.
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The first Cabinet decision made under Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, wasn't about how to resolve his country's nuclear dispute with world powers. It was about how to keep the nation's largest lake from disappearing. Lake Oroumieh, one of the biggest saltwater lakes on Earth, has shrunk more than 80 percent to 1,000 square kilometers in the past decade, mainly because of climate change, expanded irrigation for surrounding farms and the damming of rivers that feed the body of water, experts say. Experts fear the lake – famous in years past as a tourist spot and a favorite stopping point for migrating flamingos, pelicans and gulls – could disappear within two years if nothing is done. Twenty proposals are on the table for saving the lake, including cloud seeding to increase rainfall in the area and the building of pipelines to bring in more water.Now, only 300 live in the village overlooking the shrinking lake.Lakes in other parts of Iran are facing a similar crisis, though not as severe as at Oroumieh.
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