Caves Rich in Underground Aquifers

Caves Rich in Underground AquifersCaves Rich in Underground Aquifers

Caves are the biggest sources of underground aquifers and given the current state of water resources in the country can help offset water shortage. But unfortunately we don’t pay much attention to these valuable resources, said Javad Nezamdoust, head of Iranian Cavers & Speleologists Association (ICSA).

Some statistics show that there are about 2,200 caves in the country. But till now, no organization or institution has given the exact number of caves in the country. According to speleologists an identified cave should have a map, and related registered geological data, “but a large percentage of the country’s caves don’t have a map.”

About 170 caves have been identified in the country of which 11 are tourist caves. But due to lack of supervision many of them have been destroyed or converted to tunnels, IRNA reported.

 Filled With Litter

Also tourists’ failure to comply with ‘principles of caving’ and throwing litter in caves has disrupted their natural cycle. In the last 4 years, 6.5 tons of waste has been logged out from about 50 caves in the country.

Since there is no sunlight in caves, waste doesn’t decompose and develops various kinds of fungi, which can endanger the life of bats. Bats are enemies of agricultural pests; each bat eats a ton of harmful pests’ pupae annually. Caves are also rich in underground aquifers so exploring them can help detect water resources.

“Long-term existence of waste in caves will contaminate aquifers; hence if we don’t pay enough attention to them now, definitely their water resources will be polluted in the future. We are trying to allocate more funds for conservation and management of caves,” Nezamdoust said.

Last year, ICSA was accepted as a member of the International Geological Union. The union has now 63 members. ICSA is a non-governmental organization (NGO) and comprises cavers and speleologists who are interested in exploring, surveying, researching and protecting national caves.

On September 26, a hundred caves were cleaned symbolically across the country.