Mehrdad Vahed Yousefabad was born 1991 in Tabriz, Iran. He started photography in 2015 as a freelance photographer. After graduating from MSc of Mechatronics at IAUT, he focused on long term projects in issues of urban life and environment changes. He was selected as nominee for Talent of the Year 2020 in International Photography Grant, finalist of FINI 2020 Festival and finalist In portfolio section of HIPA 2019 for his project ‘’Hope in the rain’’ about the Drought crisis of Urmia Lake.
The Lost Sea
Twenty years of long-term drought due to global warming have dried up or endangered many rivers and lakes in Iran. Urmia Lake in the northwest of Iran ranked as the sixth-largest saltwater lake in the world, and the largest in the Middle East was in danger of complete drought. Human factors such as dams constructions and drilling illegal deepwater wells in the lake catchment area, construction of a 15-kilometer bridge across the lake, and lack of water resources management are the most important causes of lake dryness. Environmentalists believe complete dryness of the lake will change the climate and this is a danger to the ecosystem and people living around the lake. But nature, after two decades of drought, came to rescue the lake and breathed new life into the half-dead body. Winter and spring rains of 2019 fed the lake by flood and overflow waters of dams. Actions to manage and improve water consumption in the lake catchment area with continued rainfall in 2020 have caused to water level to increase amazingly and 53% of the lake is covered with water. This improvement in conditions has raised hopes for saving the lake and prevent an environmental disaster.