People, Environment

$28.5m for Restoring Karoun River

Waste management has improved the quality and color of Karoun River.Waste management has improved the quality and color of Karoun River.

The Management and Planning Organization of Iran has allocated 1 trillion rials (about $28.5 million) for the restoration of Karoun River in Khuzestan Province in the current fiscal year (started March 20), a senior provincial official has said.

Karoun is the most effluent and only navigable river in Iran with access to international waters (it flows into the Persian Gulf). It has been a major source of drinking water for Khuzestan and a top attraction for its capital city of Ahvaz for years.

However, excessive water use, the region’s hot climate and prolonged drought have taken a toll on the river, making its restoration a hot subject of discussion in environmental circles and a top priority for the government, Mana reported.

Despite the problems, Karoun remains the most effluent river in the country, but the quality of the water is not what it used to be.

The river is spoiled by urban, industrial and agricultural waste. Waste mismanagement has altered the quality and color of this massive body of water and turned it into a cesspool of murky water, which bears no resemblance to its past pristine glory.

Furthermore, the construction of Gotvand Dam in 2011 is said to have exponentially increased the salinity of Karoun.

“The allocated budget is going to be spent on dredging, balancing the water’s salinity and controlling contaminations, among others,” Ahmad Sayyahi, deputy for construction affairs at the Khuzestan Governorate, said.

Increased salinity and wastewater inflow have also caused sedimentation, lowering the river’s depth and increasing its flood risk.

Improving farming methods, adopting water conservation techniques, overseeing aquifers and groundwater resources, as well as expanding water purification systems, throughout the region are among numerous measures planned for cleaning up the river.

About 725 kilometers long, Karoun rises in the Zardkouh mountains of the Bakhtiari district in Zagros Range and takes in water from tributaries, such as Dez and Kouhrang, before passing through Ahvaz.