People, Environment

Farmers Divert Water From Kor River, Kill Marine Life

Farmers Divert Water From Kor River, Kill Marine LifeFarmers Divert Water From Kor River, Kill Marine Life

Water shortage has forced a number of rice farmers in Fars Province to once again illegally divert water from Kor River to their paddies, bringing about the demise of the aquatic species inhabiting the river, said an authority at the provincial office of the Department of Environment.

Located in an arid region, Fars Province is all too familiar with water scarcity. Work is underway to lay down pipelines to transfer water from Doroudzan Dam on Kor River to the capital city of Shiraz, which is home to 1.8 million people.

The farmers’ need for water to irrigate their lands and their unauthorized attempts to change the river path adds to the problem and puts the river and the species it supports in jeopardy.

Siavash Mohammadi, an official at the provincial DOE office, said farmers have made numerous attempts to change the river’s path in the current Iranian year (started March 20), IRNA reported.

“They’re feeling the pressure of water shortage and carelessly attempt to irrigate their lands,” he said, adding that their latest attempt to divert water from Kor has left the river basin dry with numerous pools scattered across the place.

The official noted that although environmentalists and agents from DOE have managed to save a large number of turtles and fish by transferring them to safe areas, quick rescue operations in such a short time is simply not feasible.

“Unfortunately a large number of animals died, because the water in pools they were trapped in quickly evaporated,” he said.

Mohammadi said provincial officials have repeatedly called on farmers to use water responsibly due to the critical status of the precious resource in the drought-hit province, to no avail.

To make matters worse, some have started selling water from the wells they own either legally or illegally, which has only aggravated the problem.

Kor is one of Fars’ most important rivers whose basin covers an area of about 31,874 million square meters, which is about 25% of the total area of Fars Province. As such, it has long played a key role in the province’s agro-economy and people’s livelihood.