Invoking climate change as the sole cause of terrible shortages lets those in authority off the hook
- Kaveh Madani is a former deputy vice-president of Iran
Iran’s water bankruptcy has been in the news lately, prompting deadly protests in Khuzestan province that also garnered the attention of global media. But this kind of problem is neither new or unique in the country. Drying rivers, vanishing lakes, shrinking wetlands, declining groundwater levels, land subsidence, sinkholes, desertification, soil erosion, dust storms, air, water and waste pollution, biodiversity loss, deforestation and wildfires are among the other familiar signs of Iran’s environmental devastation.
Khuzestan, in south-west Iran, is known globally for its rich oil and gas resources. But this wealthy province’s contribution to Iran’s development is not just its oil and gas revenue. Khuzestan is also water-rich compared with most of the country. So, its large rivers have been blocked by gigantic dams to store water for agriculture, industrial and domestic uses and hydroelectricity production. Considerable amounts of water have been also transferred from its rivers’ tributaries to dry regions in central Iran.