Thousands of Iranians protest chronic water shortages
Peaceful protests broke out yesterday in the city of Shahr-e Kord in front of the governor's residence. Other rallies have taken place in Isfahan, central Iran. Many people are getting drinking water from tanker lorries, but there is no water to irrigate farmland. Meanwhile, the government has promised solutions "in the next months.
Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Protests against chronic water shortages in some areas of Iran are growing.
Hundreds of residents in Shahr-e Kord, capital of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province, southwestern Iran, took to the streets recently in a peaceful rally at the governor's residence.
Last weekend, farmers travelled to Isfahan, central Iran, to demand the revival of the Zayanderud, the city’s only river, which has dried up.
About half a million people in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari have to struggle every day for a meagre amount of clean water, conservative Tasnim News Agency reported.
Almost 200 villages rely on tankers for their water needs, but water for farming, the province’s main source of employment, remains scarce.
Ongoing street protests highlight the extent of the water crisis that has hit the Islamic Republic, where shortages have become chronic.
Currently, the country is going through its worst drought in the last 50 years due to the lack of rainfall.
The first water shortages protests broke out in the summer in Khuzestan province, in Iran’s southwest.
Iranian authorities announced a series of initiatives to deal with the emergency.
One of the first steps taken by the new administration that took office after the 18 June election was to temporarily release water from dams and appointing a special emergency governor.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi dispatched Energy Minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian to Isfahan. The latter went on state TV yesterday to address the water shortage issue, but did not say what actions would be taken to solve the problem.
“I apologize to all our dear farmers,” he said. “I feel ashamed for not being able to provide the water needed for their crops.” Nevertheless, the minister expressed hope that the shortcomings would be overcome “in the next few months”.
Water shortages have become a chronic problem in Iran because of climate change and human mismanagement.
Due to the drought, water levels in hydroelectric dams have dropped, causing power shortages. For the same reason, Iranian authorities have had to import record quantities of wheat to feed its people.
These factors have led to economic turmoil, fuelling important protests, forcibly repressed by the police in some places, like Khuzestan province, with people killed and wounded.