Iran’s Minister of Power announced on Sunday that his ministry has already begun the process of transferring water to rapidly drying Lake Oroumiyeh but he added that the government faces a shortage of funds in this regard.

The Fars News Agency reports that Hamid Chitchian said on Sunday June 15 that the process of replenishing the lake will take time and effort.

He stressed that the process of saving the lake will require assistance from the people of the region, adding: “Currently, the transfer of water to the southern parts of the lake has begun and is being seriously implemented.”

He added that the government is facing a “shortfall in its funding resources” but it is still expecting “significant progress” in the coming days.

He added the the ministry needs farmers to do their part by adopting proposed new farming and irrigation methods, which will save water for the lake.

The lake is drying out at a rapid rate with 93 percent of it already gone. The disappearance of the lake would directly affect at least five million people in the region.

Last Tuesday, a group of activists engaged in demonstrations in Tabriz to protest the government’s negligence of the lake. Five of the detainees still remain in custody.