People, Environment

Minister: Fars Flooding, dam Construction Helpful

Minister: Fars Flooding, dam Construction Helpful
Minister: Fars Flooding, dam Construction Helpful

Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian said recent flooding in the southern regions of Fars Province has helped replenish reservoirs and slightly alleviate drought conditions.

“Due to the large dams in the region, we managed to store a large amount of rainfall,” he added.

Despite the damage caused by heavy rainfall and flash floods, the minister is adamant that “in a country grappling with drought, rainfall like this is a blessing”.

Chitchian, who heads a ministry known for its propensity to build dams, said without the massive structures, “the destructive impacts of the floods would have been multiple times worse”, Tasnim News Agency reported.

Every year after severe flooding, advocates of dam construction waste little time to praise the role of dams in mitigating damage.

However, environmental experts say that simply could not be further from the truth. They argue that proper management ensures the floods inflict minimal damage and, more importantly, be used to restore drying wetlands and submerge the sources of dust storms in water.

“Nowhere in the world do they use dams to control floods; it’s unheard of,” Mohammad Darvish, who heads the Public Participation Office at the Department of Environment, told Mehr News Agency last year.

Experts say maintaining vegetation, banning construction along rivers and managing watersheds are but a handful of ways to reduce the impact of flooding.

Proper water management can turn floods, which befall large swathes of country every year, into a potential solution for the rampant dust storms that hit flood-hit regions frequently.

“We can create paths to divert flood waters to wetlands on the brink of desiccation and regions that contribute to dust storms,” said Hamidreza Khodabakhshi, the head of Water Engineers Syndicate.

The southwestern Fars Province has been severely affected by the recent downpours, particularly in its eastern and southern parts. Floodwaters destroyed the Mohammadabad Embankment Dam and damaged a part of Grand Bazaar in Jahrom city, located 170 km southeast of Shiraz, the provincial capital.

Floods in the southern Bushehr Province have also inundated many roads in eight counties.

Heavy rainfall and flooding in the southern and southwestern regions was predicted by Climatology Research Institute in Tehran on February 12 and people were urged to avoid roads along the swollen rivers and water channels. 

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