Prioritizing the economic, social and environmental consequences on rural areas of Malekan township of the drying of lake Urumia

Document Type : علمی - پژوهشی


Department of Extension and Education, Faculty of Agricultural engineering and Rural Development, Ramin Agriculture and Natural Resources University of Khuzestan, Molasani, Iran


Introduction: Today, meddling by human beings in nature has distorted the environmental systems and this has led to uncontrolled flooding, extreme storms, warming of the Earth, the extravagant consumption of natural resources and, recently, drying up of lakes. One of the most significant environmental threats that have happened in Iran over recent years is the reduction in the volume of Lake Urumia’s water. The objectives of this study are to assess the effect of the aforementioned issue upon the economic, social and environmental status of the residents living around the margins of the lake, the residents' perspectives on the contributing factors to the drying up of the lake, procedures for reviving it and also prioritizing the economic, social and environmental consequences.Materials and Methods: the current research is an applied research and the procedure used for data collection is causal-comparative. The required data were collected from a sample of 300 of the residents of Malekan Township who filled out a questionnaire in 2015. In the descriptive part, the frequency, cumulative percentage, variance, standard deviation and average were calculated. In the inferential part, variance analysis, average comparison and the t test were applied. By applying an analytic hierarchy process, the priority among the economic, social and environmental consequences of the drying up of Lake Urmia was identified according to the residents' opinions.Results and Discussion: The results indicated that, after 2009, all of the products except the gardens have significantly reduced in comparison to the previous period. Assessing the data indicated that the economic condition of the region had worsened in comparison with that of 2009. However, the average of this variable decreased before 2009 by moving away from the lake, while it increased after 2009 by moving away from the lake. In other words, environmental conditions improved by moving away from the shoreline after 2009. Consequently, as time goes by, the residents' status has worsened by drying up of the lake. The aforementioned results are compatible with that of Rahmati and Nazarian (2010) in relation to the negative consequences on rural regions of constructing the Upper Gotvand Dam. According to the residents of the region, the Government has played the most significant role in the drying up of Lake Urumia by constructing highways, dams and not preventing the construction of unlawful roads. The authorities have proposed transferring water to the lake, freeing the water of the dams, cloud seeding, using better irrigation methods and planting crops with high efficiency as ways for resuscitating Lake Urumia. The analytic hierarchy process indicated that the residents of the region have considered environmental consequences as the most significant factors in the drying up of the lake and considered social and economic consequences as placed at the next levels.Conclusion: considering the fact that more than half of the residents have considered freeing the water of the dams as a significant factor in revitalising the lake, despite loss of their income, the revitalisation of the lake is a priority to them. The environmental consequences of the lake drying up are threatening. However, on the other hand, it provides politicians with enough motivation to consider people’s priorities over economic consequences. Consequently, they would be able to plan restoration of the lake while considering the aforementioned results.


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