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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid