People, Environment

Rains Give Karoun Some Respite

Rains Give Karoun  Some RespiteRains Give Karoun  Some Respite

Discharge of Karoun River in Ahvaz, Khuzestan Province, increased for the second time this week, thanks to continuous heavy rainfall in Iran’s western regions, a senior provincial official was quoted as saying.

“Discharge of the river is now 180 cubic meters per second, which is the highest it has been in the past year,” Mohammad Reza Shamsaei, director of Khuzestan Water and Power Authority, told MANA.

Water level of Karoun has risen by 1.35 meters, he added, crediting the substantial rainfall earlier this week for the current state of the river.

Shamsaei said despite the muddiness of the water, the river is less polluted and far less saline.

“However, it has caused problems for water treatment facilities in Ahvaz,” he noted. The official said his office expects the water level to rise even further by next week, thanks to the good rainfall.

Construction of the controversial Gotvand Dam a few years ago has substantially increased salinity of Karoun, which has made an already harsh environment unbearable for vegetation.

Environmentalists attribute the death of around 400,000 palm trees last year in the province to the high salinity of the river.

In addition to years of resource mismanagement and prolonged drought, the river is suffering from pollution caused by industrial, agricultural and household waste.

Karoun and Jarahi are the two main tributaries of the long-stressed Shadegan Wetland, which is gradually shrinking and activists fear it may be headed toward complete desiccation and potentially turned into yet another source of dust storms in the oil-rich southern province.