An Investigation and Analysis of the Effect of Urmia Lake Water Level Reduction on the Development Levels of Surrounding Counties

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D. Student in Geography and Urban Planning, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, Iran

2 Professor, Department of Geography and Urban Planning, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, Iran

3 Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Urban Planning, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, Iran

4 Postdoctoral Researcher of Future Studies, Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Iran


The discussion of environmental change is currently one of the most important challenges which the international community faces. This issue comprises one of the most extensive scientific, economic, social, and even political debates at different global levels. Severe and sustained droughts have threatened many parts of the globe at different times and have led to rapid and profound changes at the economic and social development levels. The Middle East, especially Iran, has been no exception in this regard. The drying up of water resources, including lakes, is a prominent feature of these changes that has caused problems for the surrounding habitats. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the status of development indicators in 22 cities in Urmia Lake catchment area. In recent decades, water level has decreased significantly and drought level has increased in this lake. This study is an applied research project in terms of purpose and a descriptive-analytical one in terms of methodology. Data and information were collected from sources and documents of the Census Bureau for the years 2006 and 2016. Also, Vikor method and Moran's spatial autocorrelation index in Arc Gis software were used for the data analysis. The results of the statistical calculations showed that the development levels in the catchment area have transformed dramatically over the last 10 years, from the cluster distribution of 2006 to the dispersed distribution pattern of 2016. Moreover, the employment rate has declined and the unemployment rate has increased.Comparing the various statistics, one can clearly see the negative effects of the Lake water level decline on catchment area counties over the last 10 years. The gradual decline in the Lake water level (followed by a decrease in the employment rate and an increase in the unemployment rate) is the main reason for the imbalance in the development of the region.


Main Subjects

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Volume 11, Issue 2
Autumn & Winter
October 2019
Pages 285-309
  • Receive Date: 30 September 2019
  • Revise Date: 11 December 2019
  • Accept Date: 11 December 2019