Iran’s Environment Organization has announced that 65 percent of Lake Oroumiyeh’s surface has already dired up.

Asghar Mohammadi Fazel, a spokesman for the Environment Organization, announced on Sunday that the situation remains critical, as many parts of the lake have turned red due to the high concentration of minerals.

Mohammadi Fazel added that an agreement to have the three provinces of Western Azerbaijan, Eastern Azerbaijan and Kurdistan each provide 1.3 billion cubic metres of water for the lake has not been honoured.

He added that the Ministry of Power was supposed to provide an additional 1.8 billion cubic metres of water but that has also been neglected. In addition, the ministry reportedly still has to stop the illegal use of water at 24,000 wells in the region.

Khabar on line reports the administration has promised to save the lake by the end of this year, saying: “We are certain to carry out the major water-transfer plan to Lake Oroumiyeh by the end of the current year.”

Lake Oroumiyeh, which is the largest lake completely contained by Iran’s borders, has been facing rapidly declining water levels. At the current rate, experts say the lake may completely disappear within three to five years.

In the past year, many environmental activists in Azerbaijan have staged protests demanding government action to save the lake, but many protesters have been arrested and imprisoned.