People, Environment

Boost to Shadegan Wetland Revival Efforts

Boost to Shadegan Wetland Revival Efforts Boost to Shadegan Wetland Revival Efforts

A water transfer project aimed at restoring the imperiled Shadegan Wetland in Khuzestan Province is expected to be complete by mid-June, said a top environment figure. 

Protected under the Ramsar Convention, the wetland has been at risk of desiccation for years due to climate change and Iran's protracted battle with water scarcity.

To remedy the problem, it was announced over a year ago that a six-kilometer-long canal would be constructed to transfer water from Karoun River to the southern part of Shadegan.

The canal was initially expected to be ready by March 2016, but according to Massoumeh Ebtekar, the head of Department of Environment, it will be complete in June, ISNA reported.

"Siphoning water to Shadegan will help replenish the wetland and improve its water quality," she said

While the northern part of the wetland has been receiving meager amounts of water thanks to Jarahi River, the low discharge of the river is unable to fill the entire lagoon, leaving the southern portion of Shadegan dry.

In line with improving the region's environment, the department has held talks with the Sugarcane and Byproducts Development Company to enlist their help to accelerate the restoration project.

They have agreed to allow DOE officials to use their irrigation systems to pump water from the farms to the wetland during winter when the farms are not watered.

The authorities believe that even though the irrigation system can only be used for three months per year, this method can transfer up to four times the volume of water transferred by the canal.

Excessive dam construction, prolonged drought and failure to uphold Shadegan’s water rights have rendered the once thriving wetland vulnerable to desiccation.

Furthermore, the marine species remaining in the wetland are threatened by pollution caused by leaky oil pipes, industrial waste and fertilizers.

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