A general view of recreational boats along the shore of the salt lake of Urmia with the Shahid Kalantari causeway crossing it. AFP / ATTA KENARE
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Situated in the mountains of northwest Iran, Lake Urmia is fed by 13 rivers and designated as a site of international importance under the U.N. Convention on Wetlands that was signed in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 .By August 2011 the lake's surface was 2,366 square kilometers and shrank drastically to just 700 square kilometers in 2013, according to the United Nations.That finally triggered a coordinated effort to save the lake in 2013 -- with a joint program between Iran and the U.N. Development Program funded by the Japanese government.So, too, was the construction of a causeway in 2008 to shorten driving times between Urmia and the nearby city of Tabriz that had cut the lake in two.The rejuvenation effort therefore focused on redirecting rivers to irrigate farmland, thus avoiding use of water from the lake, as well as the promotion of more sustainable farming methods.
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