Determination of the effective factors on the water balance of Urmia Lake basin with a focus on precipitation trends.

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, Faculty of Water & Environmental Engineering, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz, Iran

2 East Azerbaijan Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Training Center , Tabriz, Iran.


Prevention of water loss for the Urmia Lake due to the drought is environmentally crucial for the lake basin and it seems that, the analysis of the historical process of factors governing the water mass balance equation for the catchment leading to the lake can provide insights on what has to be done. In order to do that, statistical significance for potential breaking points and rate of changes over time points of precipitation and runoff for 25 hydrological basin stations based on the data regarding Annual precipitation and Annual runoff related to the whole span of the lake basin from 1977 to 2019 has been studied and surveyed using Mann-kendall test, Petit test and Sen’s Slope Estimator. For all hydrological basinstations breaking points have been observed in the water discharge time points from 1993 to 2005 and the decline of water discharge. Significant increase in precipitation in the entire Urmia catchment area of about 0.16 mm at a indicates its stability during the study period. The annual runoff of the studied basins into Lake Urmia in the two time periods before and after the discharge drop were estimated at 4.671 and 1.885 billion cubic meters per year, respectively, indicating volume reduction of 2.786 billion cubic meters (59.6%). Looking at the Lake Urmia sub-basins annual discharge reduction data, it can be seen that Zarrinehroud with the largest share of 34.5% and Mahparishai with smallest share of 0.2%, and the rest in between, contribute to the occurrence of draught for Lake Urmia.


  1. Sakiris G, Nalbantis I, Vangelis H, Verbeiren B, Huysmans M, Tychon, B and Batelaan O (2013) A system-based paradigm of drought analysis for operational management. Water resources management. 27(15) p: 5281-5297.
  2. Hassanzadeh, A., Hassanzadeh, Y., Zarghami, M., and Nourani, V. (2011). Determining the contribution of the effect of construction of hydraulic structures. Master Thesis, University of Tabriz.
  3. assanzadeh, Y. (2012). Investigating the causes of water level decrease in Lake Urmia and presenting remedial solutions, 5th International Congress of the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Department of Water Engineering, Master Thesis, University of Tabriz, Iran.
  4. Karimi Rad, A., Ebrahimi, K., and Iraqi Nejad Sh. (2015). Investigation of the effect of climate fluctuations on multilayered groundwater aquifers (Case study: Gorgan plain), water and irrigation management, Volume 5, Number 2, autumn and winter.
  5. Nadizadeh Shurabeh.S. (2018). Analysis of the effect of periodic changes in coastlines on the expansion of salt flats along Lake Urmia using Landsat satellite images. Quantitative Geomorphological Research, Year 7, Issue 1, summer.
  6. Faraji, A., Alian, M., and Fathi, A. (2018). Futurism of regional effects of drying of Lake Urmia with a political approach to geography and regional urban planning, Year 8, No. 27, summer.
  7. Sari Saraf, B., Jalali Ansroudi, T., and Sarafrozeh, F. (2015). The effects of global warming on the climate of cities located in Lake Urmia Basin, Bimonthly Quarterly Journal of Urban Ecology Research, Year 6, No. 2, 12, autumn and winter 13, p: 33-48.
  8. Shafaei, A., Iraqi Nejad, Sh., and Masah Bawani, A. (2013). Investigation of the effects of climate change on the operation of surface reservoirs in Gorganrood Basin, Water and Irrigation Management, Volume 3, Number 2, autumn and winter.
  9. Mesbahzadeh, T., Soleimani Sardo, F., (2018). Investigation of the temporal trend of hydrological and meteorological drought in Karkheh basin, Iranian watershed management science and engineering.
  10. Soheili, A., Malekinejad, H., and Ekhtesasi, M. (2019). Temporal and spatial analysis of the discharge trend of the Kor River and the drought of Dorodzan Dam Basin, Journal of Soil and Water Sciences, Year 23, Special Issue of Flood and Soil erosion, winter.
  11. Qarachai, H., Moghadamnia, A., Malekian, A., and Ahmadi, A., Quantitative evaluation of the effects of climate variability and human activities on runoff, Master Thesis, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Tehran, 2014.
  12. Mina Soudi; Hojjat Ahmadi; Mehdi Yasi; and Sajad Ahmad Hamidi. (2019). Water Balance of Urmia Lake and Estimation of the Volume of the Losses and Yields in Buffer Zone. World Environmental and Water Resources Congress.
  13. Fatemeh Bashirian, Dariush Rahimi, Saeed Movahedi & Reza Zakerinejad (2020). Water level instability analysis of Urmia Lake Basin in the northwest of Iran. Arabian Journal of Geosciences volume 13, Article number: 193 Cite this article.
  14. Bagher Shirmohammadi .Arash Malekian. Ali Salajegheh. Bahram Taheri. Hossein Azarnivand. Ziga Malek. Peter H. Verburg. (2020) Impacts of future climate and land use change on water yield in a semiarid basin in Iran. First published: 13 January.
  15. M.THenmozhi & S.V.Kottiswaran, (2016), Analysis of rainfall trend using mann-kandall test and the Sen’s slope estimator in udumalpet of tirupur district in Tamil Nadu, International Journal of Agricultural Science and Research (IJASR) ,Vol. 6, Issue 2, Ap, p:131-138.
  16. aheed Hasan, Z., Akhter, S., Islam, M., CLIMATE CHANGE AND TREND OF RAINFALL IN THE SOUTH-EAST PART OF COASTAL BANGLADESH, European Scientific Journal January 2014 edition vol.10, No.2 ISSN: 1857 – 7881 (Print) e - ISSN 1857- 7431.
  17. Rufayda M. El-Hagrsy, Tamer A. Gado, I.M.H. Rashwan, (2018). CLIMATE CHANGE EFFECTS ON ANNUAL RAINFALL CHARACTERISTICS IN EGYPT, Twenty-first International Water Technology Conference, IWTC21. Ismailia, 28-30 June.
  18. G. Chinwendu Okafor, O. D. Jimoh, K. Isaac Larbi, (2017). Detecting Changes in Hydro-Climatic Variables during the Last Four Decades (1975-2014) on Downstream Kaduna River Catchment, Nigeria, Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, 7, P:161-175 .
  19. Lake Urmia basin stations, Geographical Research,(spring 2007), No. 59.
  20. Safavi, Hamidreza, Engineering Hydrology, Arkan Danesh Publications, Fourth Edition, Isfahan. 2014.
  21. Shati, S., Akhundali, A., Naseri, A., and Ghomeishi, M. (2018). Contribution of construction of Gotvand dam and development of agricultural lands on salinity of Karun River, Thesis of a Master's degree in water science and engineering in hydrology and water resources, Chamran, Ahvaz.
  22. Hejazizadeh, Z., Karbalaei, A., Toulabi Nejad, M., Hosseini, S. M. (2019). Analysis of precipitation trends in the last six decades in Iran, 14th Congress of the Geographical Association of Iran.
  23. Nouri, M., Homayi, M., and Banayan, M., (2018). Analysis of precipitation and drought trends in some humid to semi-arid regions of Iran, Journal of Soil and Water Sciences, Year 22, Number One, spring.
  24. Goodarzi, M., Salahi, B., and Hosseini, SA.(2015). Investigation of the effect of climate change on surface runoff changes (Case study: Lake Urmia basin) Echo Hydrology, , Volume 2, Number 2, summer, p: 175-189.
  25. Arash, A., Tavancheh, F., (2018). Relationship Between Hydrologic and Metrological Droughts Using the Streamflow Drought Indices and Standardized Precipitation Indices in the Dez Watershed of Iran, International Journal of Civil Engineering ,
  26. Qudusi, M., Delavar, M., and Murid, S. (2014). The effect of land use change on hydrology of Ajichai basin and its inflow to Lake Urmia, Iranian Soil and Water Research, Volume 45, Number 2, Summer, p: 123-133.
  27. Hesari B., and Naskili Tayefeh, N. (2010). Investigating the changes in the surface of Lake Urmia and its interaction with the changes in the surface of the Caspian Sea and Lake Van in Turkey and the climatic factors of the region, the second national conference on the environmental crisis of Lake Urmia, Naghadeh, Iran p. 62-68.