Iranians now face another crisis along with other crushing economic and social crises: water shortage. This crisis, like others, is the direct result of the regime’s mismanagement and misuse of national wealth for its illicit activities. This crisis is due to the destruction of the country’s water infrastructure by institutions affiliated with the regime.
The deprived citizens living in the southern, central, and eastern provinces of Iran are mostly affected by the water crisis. For example, there is a severe water crisis in the deprived Sistan and Baluchistan province, southeastern Iran, particularly scarcity of running water. In the absence of pipelines or tankers, people dig ditches – called hootags – to collect rainwater. Village residents use the hootags as water reservoirs. Many children have fallen to their death in these deep hootags, and those who go to the lakes to fetch water are sometimes attacked and killed by crocodiles.
The Iranian regime’s state-run media have acknowledged parts of the water crisis in numerous provinces.
Essa Kalantari, head of the regime’s Environment Organization, in an interview with the state-run ISNA news agency on October 15, 2017, said: “Not even a foreign enemy ruling this country would have been able destroy natural resources and the environment, as what has happened in the past years. We have experienced any kind of ecologic disasters within the last four-decades. Prior to this, many of the country’s environmental indicators, such as water were in a good position.”
#Poverty and deprivation in Sistan & Baluchestan province, southeast #Iran, and its underdevelopment have left the people of this province facing exhausting difficulties economically and socially.https://t.co/xmKb5QML9K
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) September 20, 2020
The state-run Tasnim news agency, while quoting Hamidreza Karamvand, the CEO of Water and Sewerage Company in Lorestan province, western Iran, wrote: “Out of 2900 village across Lorestan province, only 1600 villages – i.e. nearly half of them – are covered by the Water and Sewerage Company of the province.”
In an interview with the state-run Ahvaz Khabar on August 12, 2020, Mojtaba Yousefi, Member of Parliament for Ahvaz, southwest Iran, said: “People in 800 villages near Ahvaz do not have access to sustainable drinking water despite being close to five large dams and seven rivers.”
The state-run ISNA news agency, while quoting Reza Iranmanesh, Director General of Rural Affairs Office of Kerman Governorate, southeast Iran, on July 24, wrote: “1000 villages of Kerman province are suffering from potable water problems, of which 527 villages have more basic problems and are supplied by water tanker.”
These statistics shed light on part of the problems people face due to the regime’s mismanagement and unnecessary projects that have caused the water crisis. One of these unnecessary projects is the construction of dams in an unscientific manner.
Regime’s unscientific dam construction: a disaster for farmers
In other countries, governments or private contractors construct dams to prevent water from wasting and further helping farmers by keeping the water. But in Iran the situation is different. Unscientific construction of dams has increased Iran’s environmental problems and people’s, particularly farmers’, subsequent suffering. When a dam is built on a flooded river, the downstream area of the dam will inevitably face a water shortage problem, and the area’s ecosystem will change over time.
Basically, building many dams along Iran’s rivers and watersheds has no scientific justification, but they are only for the benefit of the regime’s looting institutions and specifically the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
With the construction of dams in the whole country, the water output from the dams has decreased. Therefore, the regime’s agents are plundering the water they need from the aquifers by digging deep wells.
The looting of groundwater aquifers in the plains around Lake Urmia, northwestern Iran, accelerated the drying process, and in the provinces of Isfahan and Chaharmahal Bakhtiari, Yazd, and Khuzestan, central and southwest Iran, also caused water shortages for people and farmers in these areas. The destruction of water infrastructure has created various problems for the people, one of which is the drinking water crisis in some parts of the country.
Drinking water crisis
According to the state-run Tasnim news agency: “Sistan and Baluchistan Water and Sewerage Company supply water to 1,300 villages, which lack water and sewage network in the province, with a population of 251,000, by mobile water supply tankers. The limit of supplied water is 15 liters per person. The company emphasizes that its resources and equipment are not sufficient for mobile water supply by tanker to all villages without water network, and thousands of villages are waiting for the allocation of tankers and resources for water supply by water and tanker.”
Shocking results of water crisis
In recent years, roughly 20 children have died from drowning in hootags, according to the official IRNA news agency – July 23, 2019. For example, in May 2019, three elementary school girls went to a hootag to quench their thirst. They fell into the water and drowned (The official IRNA news agency – May 29, 2019). Hawa, a Baluch girl, was retrieving water from a hootag when she was attacked by a crocodile and lost one of her hands in 2019.
Drinking water expensiveness
Another problem that people face is the rising cost of potable water, which is forcing people to turn to polluted and less expensive water. When the regime does not provide people with safe drinking water, people start purchasing drinking water bought by tankers, which is often supplied by government-owned factories at extremely soaring prices.
Hamshahri Online website on June 22, while quoting a representative of Sistan and Baluchistan who is also a member of the Supreme Council of Provinces, wrote: “The people living in shanty towns of Chabahar purchase drinking water from a tanker at a price of 200,0000 rials, because they do not have mobile water supply network.”
Instead of helping people, the regime’s officials have either oppressed those protesting their mismanagement of the water crisis or have given hollow promises to these poor people.
Following the demonstrations that took place in Ghizaniyeh, Ahvaz, in June 2020, regime agents, including the governor of Khuzestan, said: “Water supply to Ghizaniyeh section of Ahvaz will be completed in two weeks and this area will have safe and stable water.”
Months have gone by, but these promises have not been fulfilled.
While people of Iran are grappling with various crises, the Iranian regime continues its warmongering policies.
The regime’s mismanagement of environmental, social, and economic problems has turned the society into a powder keg.
To this end, the state-run Ebtekar daily on September 6 wrote: “It seems that Hassan Rouhani, for obvious and hidden reasons, has distanced himself from society and people as much as he could. But neither he nor his advisors notice that this behavior is the final nail in the coffin of the people’s trust. They do not understand, or they ignore, the devastating consequences of this action. It is good for president’s all security entourage to remember that since November 2019 until now what strange things have happened in our society.”