People, Environment

No Water Transfer Schemes in Khuzestan

No Water Transfer Schemes in Khuzestan
No Water Transfer Schemes in Khuzestan

The administration of President Hassan Rouhani has neither approved nor plans to approve any project for transferring water from Khuzestan Province, the province's governor general said.

Speaking in a meeting with senior members of local NGOs in Ahvaz, Khuzestan, Gholamreza Shariati added that the province does not have the capacity to transfer water to neighboring regions, Mehr News Agency reported.

"With all the dams in Khuzestan, we cannot afford to approve water transfer schemes," he said.

Recalling a project approved by the previous administration that aimed to use 550 million cubic meters of water in Khuzestan for industrial purposes, the official said, "Thankfully, the current government stopped Beheshtabad (the name of the scheme) from implementation."

Shariati stressed that Khuzestan's water is "only meant for drinking purposes".

According to published reports, Iran is the world’s third leading country in dam construction with 200 contracting companies. Over the past three decades, it has built 600 dams, on average 20 a year, to irrigate farms and provide electricity.

Environmental officials say Gotvand Dam in Khuzestan contributed to the death of 400,000 palm trees in Arvandkenar in 2014, due to the exponential increase in the salinity of the key Karoun River that has made the already harsh environment unbearable for palm trees.

The damage has severe implications on Iran’s agriculture and economy, because 40% of Iran’s exported dates are produced in this southwestern province.

The dam on Karoun River was built amid widespread protest from environmentalists and scientists who warned that the harm done by the dam outweighs its purported advantages, which have proved to be non-existent since the dam’s water is unusable.

In addition to destroying palm trees and increasing salinity of the Karoun, evidence shows that the dam has also taken a toll on the province’s wetlands and contributed generously to the desertification crisis, which is gradually displacing rural residents and pushing them into major cities like Abadan and Ahvaz, which cannot cope with the influx.

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