People, Environment

Excessive Water Withdrawal Killing Fish in NW River

Excessive Water Withdrawal Killing Fish in NW RiverExcessive Water Withdrawal Killing Fish in NW River

The excessive withdrawal of water from Aharchai River in East Azarbaijan Province (northwestern Iran) has led to a decline in the stream’s water level, killing hundreds of fish over the past several weeks.

Local media reported late last week that excessive pumping of water to irrigate orchards and farms has caused a major environmental problem in the area. The problem is exacerbated by the fact some household wastewater ends up in the river, ISNA reported.

Davoud Qasemzadeh, an official at the provincial Department of Environment, told IRNA on Wednesday that there are no water-intensive industries in the area around the 240-kilometer-long river.

“It’s the expansion of farmlands and orchards that has caused a spike in water demand,” he said, adding that declining precipitation has also played a part.

Aharchai is a key tributary of Aras River, one of the largest rivers in the Caucasus that runs along or through Azerbaijan, Iran, Armenia and Turkey.

The river is the habitat of a variety of fish species, including capoeta and barbell.

Photos published online by ISNA clearly show the severity of the problem. The river has run completely dry in certain parts, while images show large concentrations of dead fish floating along the river bank.

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