Persisting Drought Demands Attention

Persisting Drought Demands AttentionPersisting Drought Demands Attention

Iran has been grappling with drought for years, and recent studies indicate that the unwelcome phenomenon will plague the country for another 30 years, according to the director of Conservation of Biodiversity in Central Zagros Landscape project, Shirin Abolghasemi.

“It is therefore imperative to brainstorm and come up with ways to effectively deal with the situation,” she told ISNA.

“There are 318 plains in Iran where it is illegal to draw water,” the official said. “Failing to restore the wetlands will not only disrupt bird migration, but will also exacerbate dust storms.”

The sources of dust storms batterin Khuzestan Province, as well a host of other provinces, are not only located in western and southwestern regions of Iran, she asserted, adding that negligence and mismanagement of forests and water reservoirs in the past has aggravated the problem.

The effects of mismanagement are clearly seen in agriculture. Inefficient agricultural practices gobble up 90% of Iran’s water supply, with a mere 30% return.

“Excessive dam construction and unsustainable farming are important factors contributing to the destruction of the Zagros ecosystem,” she noted.

“According to experts, Zagros holds 40% of the country’s water supply,” Abolghasemi said, adding that without a major change in resource management Zagros is doomed.

She also criticized inefficient transfer of water from Zagros to areas where the temperature reaches 60 degrees Celsius in the summer, noting the practice can only be harmful to forests.

“Forests not only play a major role in water cycle and soil preservation, but are also effective against dust storms,” she asserted, pointing out that dust storms became a major threat once Zagros started suffering from forest dieback.