Economy, Domestic Economy

Rejuvenated Zayandehrud Boosts Agriculture

Rejuvenated Zayandehrud Boosts AgricultureRejuvenated Zayandehrud Boosts Agriculture

The pulse of life has started flowing once again in Zayandehrud River. Given the normally parched state of the river in the past few years and its name (which literally translates into life giver) irony strikes. But now like the previous years the river has been temporarily rejuvenated.  

Discrepancies exist in stories surrounding Zayandehrud’s new life. The deputy of water and waste water management at the ministry of energy has announced that water will continue to flow into the river until May 2015. At the same time, head of the farmer support association of Isfahan, Hossein Mohammad Rezaei, says that judging by the water reservoirs of dams the claim will not hold practical, Donya-e Eqtesad reported.  

After getting a rejuvenating shot from a sister dam of the same name, the parched Zayandehrud River has returned to life and is flowing once more. The water release took place with a rate of 80 cubic meters per second last Monday.

The water flowed through Isfahan on Wednesday night and, like the previous times, was celebrated by the citizens of Isfahan. Since the flowing river will aid agriculture and the growing of autumn crops, farmers in the east side of Isfahan were feeling particularly happy.

Back in March, the minister of energy had approved for 400 million cubic meters of water to be allocated to agriculture during autumn in eastern Isfahan, ISNA reported.

The head of the provincial farmer support association further stated that releasing water into the river is being carried out in two phases. During the first phase, which started November 1, approximately 150 million cubic meters of water is being released for a period of thirty days. This is meant to aid the farming of crops in the east. Estimates show that considering the losses in the dry riverbeds, approximately 90 million cubic meters of the water will eventually be delivered to the local farmers.

The second phase will be carried out between March-May 2015. During this phase, approximately 250 million cubic meters of water will be released, which will continue to irrigate farmlands and will be used for agriculture purposes.

With this amount of water, about 40 percent of farmlands in east Isfahan will be arable again. In any case, even if only 40 percent of the lands are exploited this would provide some relief for the livelihood of farmers, the environment, and the riverbed.

Farmers in east of the city of Isfahan have not been able to grow crops for the past two years, and the main reason behind releasing water into the river is for agricultural purposes, water industry expert Lotfollah Ziaei told Donya-e Eqtesad.

Having lost their jobs due to environmental issues, many local farmers are among the area’s poverty-stricken community. The release of water and autumnal harvest could help ameliorate their living standards, the expert added.

Other locals of Isfahan Province, who have a right to use the waters of Zayandehrud and Kouhrang Tunnel, in the western Charmahal-Bakhtiari Province, can also benefit from the recent water release. When the river dried up these people were no longer receiving their share of the water they needed for everyday use. Part of that water will return to them now.

Rezaei added that although the main purpose was for water to flow in Zayandehrud again and provide the amount required for the agriculture sector, this is not where the benefits of this process will end. The dried up river was also emotionally affecting the citizens of Isfahan and now that water is flowing in the river the spirits of the people have also been lifted.

The main source irrigating the underground waterbeds was the river, and the drought had also caused the drying up of aquifers. This in turn naturally leads to land subsidence in fields and damages buildings and historical sites in the long run. The recent water flow in Zayandehrud can help limit such harms. Unfortunately, however, since the bulk of water goes to agriculture, Gavkhouni swamp does not receive a share and the environmental disaster gripping the parched swamp continues to remain.

Citizens and farmers are elated and more people gather round the banks of Zayandehrud now that water is flowing once more. The pulse of life is beating in the city again and it is highly likely that the release of water into the river will also attract more tourists to Isfahan.

The dynamism of several industries, including tourism, and the lively spirits of a large population all depend on the life of this river. Hopefully, officials will see the importance of keeping water flowing through it for years to come.