Water Mismanagement Is Iran's Biggest Problem

(Washington Post) Seth M. Siegel - The lifting of sanctions following Tehran's nuclear agreement with the West has yet to yield benefits. Unemployment is high, and oil prices are low. However, the largest long-term threat to Iran's stability relates to its gross water mismanagement. Companies owned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were given control over major engineering projects. Recklessly, these companies began damming major rivers to give water preferences to powerful landowners and favored ethnic communities, while also transferring billions from the public treasury to IRGC leaders. At the same time, the regime allowed farmers to drill wells without controls or concerns about sustainability. After years of damming rivers and over-drilling wells, aquifers began to go dry and lakes shriveled. Iran's once massive Lake Urmia, a 2,000-square-mile expanse, contracted 90% between 1985 and 2015. With farmland ruined, topsoil blown away and insufficient water to grow crops, millions of farmers and herders have left the countryside, while deserts have expanded.

2017-05-18 00:00:00

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