Magazine article New Internationalist

Water Bankruptcy Looms

Magazine article New Internationalist

Water Bankruptcy Looms

Article excerpt

Pistachio nuts are Iran's largest export, after crude oil. But after years of drought, water shortages are putting nut-farmers' futures in jeopardy.

Iran's water crisis is escalating across the board. Iranian environmental policy expert Kaveh Madani says his country is facing 'water bankruptcy' after exhausting its surface water supply in rivers and lakes, and depleting its groundwater resources by 70 per cent.

Poor management, an inefficient agricultural sector and rapid population growth are to blame for the water shortage, which is now being compounded by climate change. Desertification threatens to make a number of the nation's provinces uninhabitable as soon as 2030, according to former agriculture minister Isa Kalantari, potentially displacing millions into already water-stressed, heavily populated areas - unless the government takes urgent action.

In an attempt to allay the crisis, Iran is relying heavily on engineering solutions. The government is planning large-scale projects to transfer desalinated water to drought-affected areas. …

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