Dams to Blame for Extreme Drought

Dams to Blame for Extreme DroughtDams to Blame for Extreme Drought

Inappropriate dam construction is the main reason for rivers and wetlands drying up, said Fatemeh Zafarnezhad, water and sustainable development expert and researcher.

At present, the country’s major water basins, including Lake Urumia in western Azarbaijan, Parishan and Bakhtegan wetlands in Fars, Gavkhuni wetland in Isfahan, and Shadegan wetland in Khuzestan provinces face a critical situation, reports IRNA.

Today, water resources in over 200 plains in the country have been depleted as forests are being destroyed and environmental degradation takes place. Also underground water levels in 400 plains have significantly decreased. The reason for the situation is unhindered water exploitation through construction of dams.

 More and More Dams

In Lake Urumia’s catchment area, 56 dams have blocked natural water flow to the lake.

Karun is the only navigable river but is also in critical situation due to existence of 24 dams in its catchment area.

Also, 6 and 8 dams have been constructed in Gavkhoni and Shadegan wetlands catchment areas respectively obstructing water inflows and leading to their drying up.

Close to 82 dams in Anzali wetland catchment area have resulted in water levels shrinking by about 1-2 meters and 3 dams near Bakhtegan wetlands have trapped more than 1 billion cubic meters of its waters.

The continuous decline of water levels and shrinking of rivers and lakes means not only will local people have difficulty accessing water supply, but local climate conditions are likely to change, resulting in more frequent occurrences of droughts.

Constant neglect of wetlands and river ‘water rights’ has disturbed the hydrological balance.