Conservation of wetlands in drought situations, considering integrated water resources management

lake Urmia has been shrinking since 1995 and its area has dramatically decreased. Continuation of the present condition will damage the region’s industrial and agricultural sectors. An integrated plan to save the lake was drawn by stakeholders, which was facilitated by the UNDP/GEF/DOE Conservation of Iranian Wetlands Project (CIWP). With the cooperation of the LU provinces, the Integrated Management Plan for Lake Urmia Basin (IMPLUB) was developed. The plan helps provincial and national agencies address the current critical ecological state of the lake, which is also required by the 4th National Development Plan. The most important agreement in this plan is to allocate 3100 MCM of water per year to the lake. To promote the ability of IMPLUB to address drought and consequent water shortages, a subproject was defined by CIWP as Drought Risk Management (DRM) for Lake Urmia basin. The DRM was admitted to the Water Engineering Research Institute (WERI) of Tarbiat Modares University in 2010. The project objectives were: to Evaluate temporal and spatial patterns of drought in the LU basin, to Evaluate methodologies to monitor drought, to Identify types of drought and measures to alleviate loss and meet LU water requirements, to Institutionalize measures for drought management. The DRM has developed a comprehensive scientific program and liaises regularly with basin stakeholders in a participatory approach. This paper shows the impact of ecosystem based management approach in wetlands conservations through highlighting the achievements of developing Lake Urmia Basin drought risk management plan.