Lake Urmia in Iran, is the largest salt lake in the Middle East. The massive lake lies far away from the country’s capital Tehran, between the provinces of East and West Azerbaijan. The lake used to be an important feeding ground for huge amounts of wildlife and birds. Now, due to irrigation and damming projects which block the water flow to the lake, Lake Urmia is emptying fast and very little water remains in what used to be a massive body of water. Due to this damming the lake it is now a massive 7 metres shallower. The deterioration of Lake Urmia impacts 13 million local inhabitants, as well as the nations of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iraq, and Armenia.

In this photo: A deserted villa sits empty near the dry shores of Lake Urmia, Iran. Because of the receding water levels less and less tourists are visiting the lake and during the cooler months most of the villas and hotels are deserted.

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Image detail: Gary Ramage