Design, Construction and Operation of Persian Gulf Martyrs’ Artificial Lake

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Main actors

City Government

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Project area

Metropolitan Area

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Ongoing since 2010/09

The Persian Gulf Lake provides a new social and recreational area for the residents of Tehran, as well as for international visitors.

The artificial Lake complex in Tehran consists of an area of 257 hectares, including a harbor area of 125 hectares. Following its construction, this complex has become a popular recreational area of regional and international relevance. The western area of the Lake has already been inaugurated, attracting about 30.000 visitors each week.

Before the construction works began, the former location was used to collect garbage and building debris. Consequently, surface water and urban swage made this place unhealthy. Moreover, because of the existence of soft soil at that location, a great amount of dust was regularly released on windy days, causing air pollution and nuisance for citizens of this urban region.

The new lake now operates as a center for social, cultural and recreational activities for different community groups, including children, young people, elderly and disabled persons. The existence of the new Lake has positive environmental effects on the region, providing Habitat for aquatic life and land animals. The construction process contributed improving local policies in regards to building permissions, and enhancing more coordination between the actors involved.

Sustainable Development Goals

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Tehran Golden Adobe Award for Urban Management

This project was awarded the 'Tehran Golden Adobe Award for Urban Management' in 2015.

Tehran, Iran

Size and population development
2011: 7,304,000; 1990: 6,365,000; 2025: 8,571,000; 2010-2015: 1.07% / year

Population composition
More than 60 percent of Tehranis are born outside of Tehran.

Main functions
economic, political, and cultural centre

Main industries / business
automobiles, electronics and electrical equipment, military weaponry, textiles, sugar, cement, and chemical products.

Political structure
Mayor and City Council (Showra) composed of 15 councillors elected by direct universal suffrage for a four-year term

Administrative structure
22 districts governed by their own district mayors

The main objective of the Persian Gulf Lake’s construction is to provide a social and recreational area at local, regional and national level. Other objectives include:

- Optimal utilization of present water resources in the project boundary

- Improvement of the air quality and the living environment in the urban district

- Enhancement of ecological and recreational abilities of the urban region

- Increasing employment possibilities in the region

- Enhancement of regional economic growth and development through private sector investment

Key Dates:



September 2010

Start of the Project

July 2012

Plans for Lake and Surroundings Prepared

April 2013

Lake completed, Water intake

5 May 2013

Lake opened to the public


The Nominating Organization:

Tehran Urban Planning and Research Center (TUPRC)


The two main actors of this project include the Engineering and Development Organization of the City of Tehran and the Tehran Municipal District 22.

Both organizations provided financial, technical and administrative support to the main stakeholders.

Main results achieved through the construction of the new Lake include:

  • Utilization of seasonal rain and surface water of the Kan River
  • Attraction of migrating birds and provision of Habitat for aquatic and land creatures
  • Improvement of local policies regarding building permission with respect to sustainable urban development
  • Functioning as a center for social, cultural and recreational activities of different community groups including young people, elderly people, disabled persons and children
  • Improvement of people’s living conditions in urban district 22
  • Provision of an attractive recreational area for the citizens of Tehran and visitors from other parts of the country
  • Enhancement of coordination between various actors including Municipality of Tehran, Tehran water and sewage organization, Tehran electricity organization

Problem 1: Provision of 245 hectares land within the urban boundary

A study was done to identify the land ownership within the project boundary using GIS software. About 100 hectares land owned by private persons was purchased according to the current land price.

Problem 2: Construction of a dam within the Urban District

This dam was built according to technical and operational principles of a dam construction project using different engineering experts.

Problem 3: Technical considerations for the selection of dam reservoir and Dikes

Total water capacity of the adjacent Kan River is 80 million cubic meters per year of which 5 million cubic meters in 4 months of the year was allocated to the Lake.

Considering the evaporation of 2 million cubic meters and the limited volume of the reservoir about 6.9 million cubic meters, the water isolation of the Lake bed was necessary. Selection and execution

of the best alternative solution for water isolation of the Lake bed was one of the greatest planning and construction challenges of this project.

Problem 4: Urban utilities hindrance

The water transportation line to the Lake with a length of 7.4 kilometers passes through the Municipal District 22. Urban utilities barriers such as electricity transport cables, urban water transportation pipes, telephone lines and optical fiber lines were located on the water transportation line to the lake. In all cases, the residents of the affected urban district were informed and the responsible organization replaced the utility lines.

Lesson 1- Implementation of centrally coordinated management to organize and steer projects which have different technical, economic and operational aspects is useful. Moreover, preparing and implementing a responsibility Chart for different parts of the project and carrying out written approved principles and standards of design and construction help substantially proper execution of the project.

Efficient coordination system between different actors, organizations and institutions are needed to manage a multipurpose project.

Lesson 2 - Consideration of every detail in the project by carrying out research and studies on them to guarantee proper design and proper functioning of the subsystems of the project.

Lesson 3 -The importance of expert studies and work during the implementation phase of the project. The most important lessons learned during this project are to keep technical and economic project information updated in order to present sufficient and proper information to decision makers and to the community members.

Lesson 4 – Studies concerning the improvement of incoming water’s quality to the Lake have shown that the amount of existing Phosphorus in the Lake water was harmful. According to this, the installation of a water treatment factory was recommended to control the quantity of phosphorus in the lake’s water. The project director recognized the necessity of the Lake water improvement in the long range, and agreed to invest more on water treatment systems.

Lesson 5 –To improve the quality of the Lake water, studies on fishery in the Lake has been done, before letting fish in the Lake.

Lesson 6 –The operation of the Lake is as important as its construction.

Accordingly, all project’s contractors are obliged to train the introduced operations personnel. On the other side, a group of experts are evaluating the proper operation of different subsystem of the project and people’s views of their effectively.

Lesson 7 - People’s participation in project planning and implementation is a necessary factor for the optimal operation of the project.

- Extensive welcome of people to Persian Gulf Lake, Hamshahri Newspaper, Volume 21, No.5972 ,18 May 2013

- Operation of Persian Gulf Lake on the West of Tehran, Ettelaat Newspaper, No.25584, 6 May 2013

- Promise of a new Climate and Environment west of the Capital City, Hamshahri Newspaper, Vol.21, No.5950, 22 April 2013

- 132 Hectares Lake is ready for Operation having 15 Hectares Green Space around it, Hamshahri Newspaper, Vol.21, No.5955, 28 April 2013

- Tomorrow you see the Blue Shining Lake of the Capital City, Hamshahri Newspaper, Vol.21, No.5960, 4 May 2013

- Realization of the Forty Years Dream of Tehran Citizens-Inauguration of Operation of Persian Gulf Lake, Tehran Today, 6 May 2013

- Tehran, Center for Urban Management, A Picture of Persian Gulf Artificial Lake, Ettelaat, No.25618, 18 June 2013

- Persian Gulf Lake Characteristics, Payame Sakhteman ( Construction Message) Biweekly Magazine,Vol.9, 20 July 2013

- The largest Artificial Lake in the Middle East Was Opened for Public, Hamshahri Newspape, Vol.21, No.5962, 6 May 2013

- Persian Gulf Lake: The largest Recreational and Social Activities Lake in Tehran, Ebtekar Newspaper, Vol.9, 6 May 2013

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Farzaneh Feizi
Tehran, Iran

Farzaneh Feizi

Individual | environmental researcher

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