Chitgar Artificial Lake Project Flawed

Around $228 million (8,000 billion rials) was spent on the lake construction.
Around $228 million (8,000 billion rials) was spent on the lake construction.

More than three years ago the Chitgar artificial recreational lake in District 22 of Tehran Municipality was inaugurated. However, water supply to the lake has become a matter of concern.

Since its establishment in May 2013, wastewater has been used to fill up the lake spread over 130 hectares, but no wastewater treatment plant has yet been installed. This has raised fears that the lake’s untreated waters could become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and cause serious health hazards, the Fararu website reported.  

Many urban experts say the wastewater treatment plant should have been installed first before the release of sewage water into the lake.

Recently, Alireza Javid, technical deputy at the Tehran Municipality (TM), said a wastewater treatment plant would be put into operation by the end of December and $8.5 million has been allocated for construction of the plant.

Pointing to the huge number of mosquitoes and frogs in the lake, he said, “The mosquitoes have been tested for various vector-borne diseases and they are not carriers of any dangerous viruses.”

The project to construct the lake from the beginning was criticized by many experts on the ground that a plan to supply water to the lake and green spaces around it should first be in place, but the TM insisted on going ahead. Around $228.5 million (8,000 billion rials) was spent on the lake construction.

In the first year after its inauguration, the lake’s stagnant water had putrefied.

 Illegal Water Use

Illegal use of underground waters for irrigation of green spaces around the lake, located in the north of Chitgar Forest Park, has also resulted in the destruction of several hundred trees.

The well-known park in western Tehran used to cover an area of 1,450 hectares when it was declared a protected area 40 years ago. Today it barely covers 840 hectares, thanks to the haphazard urbanization as well as measures that pose a risk to both human life and the environment.

According to head of Tehran Province Water and Wastewater Company, Khosrow Erteqai, annually the TM harvests 200 million cubic meters water from underground aquifers of which 70 million cubic meters are harvested illegally.

“The water used to irrigate green spaces around the lake is an example of unauthorized use of groundwater by the TM.”

Earlier, in a letter to Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, he asked the municipality not to use underground water resources illegally. “However no attention has been paid to the matter.”

Although the project has resulted in deaths of hundreds of trees, the TM is evading responsibility and puts the blame on some other factors like frostbite and old age of the trees for the problem.

The Tehran Municipality is responsible for maintaining parks and forest areas in the capital.


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