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

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Russia’s Prosecutor General to Review Legality of Baltics Independence

Move, announced Tuesday, has alarmed Baltic States and strained even further their increasingly tense ties with Moscow More

US Urged to Keep Up Pressure on Cuba Rights

Communist government continues to hold dozens of political prisoners, tightly restricts freedom of expression, uses threats, intimidation to discourage critics, according to activist groups 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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs