News / Middle East

Iran’s Water Crisis Threatens its Future

Latian Dam Resevoir outside Tehran (courtesy Mehr News)
Latian Dam Resevoir outside Tehran (courtesy Mehr News)
Maryam Manzoori
A looming water crisis in Iran has officials warning of water rationing for the capital Tehran.   The Mehr news agency quotes Khosro Erteghaei, the head of Tehran’s regional water company as saying water levels at the four reservoirs that serve Tehran are at a critical level.  He warns that if residents of Tehran and nearby provinces do not reduce their consumption “we will have a problem.”

Officials say if water consumption is not cut back they will consider options such as scheduling water outages for high consuming households, and lowering  water pressure in Tehran’s pipeline network that serves an estimated 22 million people.

It’s not only Tehran that is facing a water crisis. 

The deputy head of Iran’s water and sewage company recently warned that “500 cities in Iran are facing a water crisis.”   In early February, Iran’s energy minister Hamid Chitchian said the country's water supply has dropped by 20-percent over the past year.  

The crisis is also affecting Iran’s lakes and rivers.  Rivers in central Iran near Isfahan and Ahvaz close to the Persian Gulf have dried up.  Hamoun Lake near the Afghan border is now a dustbowl.   Lake Urmia, one of the largest salt-water lakes in the world has dropped about 200-meters, and winds blowing dry salt from the lake bed could contaminate nearby agriculture, threatening the livelihoods of an estimated three million people who live nearby. 

UN officials say dust from dried up rivers and lakes is already contributing to air pollution levels in Iranian cities, four of which are classified belonging to the 10 most polluted cities in the world. 

The government’s response has not been welcomed by the public.  In March officials decided to raise water prices by 20-percent. 

Experts blame climate change, desertification, poor water management and Iran’s propensity to build dams for the problem.  The private intelligence company Stratfor noted in a recent report that Iran’s rainfall rate is also only about one-third to one-fourth of the global average. 

Stratfor says more than 70 percent of Iran’s precipitation evaporates and that 50 percent of Iran’s water supply also comes from fast-shrinking underground water supplies which have been poorly managed.  

As the crisis grows so do the dangers of social unrest. 

Last year Al Monitor, a web site focusing on the Middle east,  reported that hundreds of farmers in Isfahan province destroyed a pipeline in clashes with police that was carrying water away from a nearby river to the town of Yazd.  And former Agriculture minister Issa Kalantari last year told the Ghanoon newspaper that Iran’s water crisis is more of a threat to the country than “Israel, America or political infighting” among Iran’s political classes.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' at 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Cranksy from: USA
April 06, 2014 1:41 PM
Well, a relatively apolitical article about Iran in an American source.


by: Not Again from: Canada
April 06, 2014 10:01 AM
The people of Iran are very unfortunate to have a theocratic authoritarian government, that wastes a tremendous amounts of money and resources. They waste the resources in fomenting and being involved in conflicts, and in support of proxi terrorists on a global scale, like Hezbollah. And then there is their nuclear programs, and the programs to produce advanced weapons, more massive amounts of resources wasted.
Given the number of higher educational establishments, the rate of literacy, the enterprising nature of the iranian people, Iran should be a very developed and prosperous country. The iranian authoritarian regime's involvement in the Iraqi and Syrian civil wars, must cost the iranian economy a Billion+ $ per month, maybe more; its negative involvent in Yemen, Bahrein, Sudan, Gaza, intermitent attacks by iranian proxis like Hezbollah against civilians, tens of millions more a year. If the iranian government used all those mis-used financial resources to improve and better the communal infrastructure, water would not be an issue of concern. If it employed the tens of thousands of well educated capable individuals in issues of social and economic development, rather than an ever growing armaments and nuclear industry, Iran would be amongst the top economies in the region. Lastly, if Iran progressively advanced the human rights of its people, it would become a positive development and inovation country. Iran's problems, including its isolation, stem from a government that is authoritarian, focussed on destructive programs, and displays a high level of misguided un-necessary agression. If you look at the iranian expatriate communities, around the world, they are hard working, contribute positively to humanity, and are very successful, when afforded the opportunity to shape their own destiny, not so the iranian government, which is a negative drag on Iran, the iranian people and humanity.


by: John from: U.S.
April 06, 2014 9:50 AM
Can't believe VOA published a weak article.writer needs to learn writing methods.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid