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Interaction of groundwater with Lake Urmia in Iran

Vaheddoost, Babak, Aksoy, Hafzullah
Hydrological processes 2018 v.32 no.21 pp. 3283-3295
base flow, groundwater, lakes, rivers, runoff, shrinkage, surface water, water table, wells, Iran
Being a large hyper‐saline water body, Lake Urmia in north‐western Iran deals with a gradual decline in its water level. Most of the studies on Lake Urmia have neglected the groundwater issue. In this study, as a direct approach, the interaction between the groundwater level and the lake water level is investigated both in time and space by analysing the groundwater data compiled from observation wells surrounding the lake. Baseflow separation is considered as an indirect approach to understand the groundwater contribution to the river network flowing into the lake. It is determined that about 70% of run‐off in the rivers draining into the lake is born in the form of baseflow. An interaction between the lake and the groundwater storage is clearly seen from the analysis to conclude that groundwater has a potential to recharge the lake. Thus, the shrinkage of water level in Lake Urmia could be expected to accelerate with the drastic use of groundwater, which will be a disaster with no return.