Twenty-two Iranian lawmakers have called on the Presiding Board of Parliament to take “expert and immediate” action to counter the rapid ebbing of Lake Oroumiyeh in Western Azerbaijan province.

The Fars news agency reports that the MPs are warning the administration that allowing the lake to dry out completely would have social, political and economic consequences. The MPs urge the administration to take responsibility for preventing the disaster, which they say is close at hand.

Last week, Parliament voted down a plan to raise water levels in Lake Oroumiyeh by transferring water from the Aras and Siloueh Rivers.

Lake Oroumieyh, the largest lake in Iran, is facing a long-term environmental crisis due to its falling water level, and large sections of it have already disappeared.

Hassan Abbasnejad, the head of environmental protection in Western Azerbaijan, reported that 53 percent of the lake has already turned into salt fields, and the salt content of the lake has reached 400 grams per litre.

On Wednesday, a number of activists were arrested in rallies demanding government action to save the lake. According to some reports, 30 people were arrested in Tabriz and another 20 in Oroumiyeh.

The Iranian Environment Organization reports that the crisis at Lake Oroumiyeh has spun out of control and is quickly destroying its lagoons. The Mehr news agency reports that the 6,000 hectares of salt shores at Lake Oroumiyeh could cause a salt tsunami capable of destroying vast regions of orchards and agricultural land in Oroumiyeh.