Document Type : Original Article
Department of Extension and Rural Development, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran
The most important natural hazard that has been occurred in Iran during recent years is the reduction in the water level of Urmia Lake, which has brought a great deal of economic, social, and environmental issues for its surrounding inhabitants. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of Urmia Lake drying on the economic, social, and environmental conditions of the rural district of Urmia city.
Material and methods:
This study is an applied, descriptive-survey research and a causal-comparative method was used. The statistical population of this study was the head of rural households in Urmia city of West Azerbaijan Province (2130 people) located in the southwest of Lake Urmia. The sample size was estimated to be 152 people by Morgan table and divided into rural districts by the appropriate allocation method. In the end, respondents were selected by a simple random sampling method. The research instrument was a questionnaire, the validity of which was confirmed based on past research and opinions of experts. To determine the reliability of the Cronbach's alpha coefficient, it was calculated for each of the economic, social, and environmental indicators. Data were analyzed by SPSS software. In addition to descriptive statistics, inferential statistics such as comparative tests were used.
Results and discussion:
The results of this study showed that the drying of Urmia Lake affected the economic, social, and environmental conditions of the studied villages. It caused an increase in the cost of water supply for agriculture, reduced employment in the agricultural sector in the economic area, increased the hopelessness about the future, reduced the tendency of children to work in the rural environment and agricultural occupation in the social sphere, increased plant diseases, and reduced the level of water in the wells. Also, according to statistical results, the consequences of the lake drying was more for those regions near the coast of the lake and vice versa.
In this context, it should also be noted that the overall protection of the environment in the prevention of natural and abnormal accidents is one of the issues that directly affect the safety of human beings. Therefore, identifying key factors and their implications in choosing appropriate solutions to cope with it requires a public effort that can be discussed and investigated abundantly to reduce its destruction rate. It can also be supported by government agencies, in particular the Ministry of Agriculture, by testing the soil of the villages around Urmia Lake, then familiarizing the villagers with cultivating crops with low water requirements and plants resistant to soil salinity, and employment for the villagers in the field of conversion and complementary industries, handicrafts, local food, tourism activities and activities that require little water to improve the livelihood of the villagers living on the margin of Urmia Lake.
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