University of Tehran

Developing a water quality management model for karun and dez rivers

More than one third of Iran’s total surface water of 94 billion m3 is flowing into the Khuzestan province but ironically most of its inhabitants are suffering from poor quality drinking water, especially during the summer months. More than 70% of the four million population of the khuzestan province, which includes the inhabitants of the provincial capital city of Ahvaz and the two major port cities of Abadan and Khoramshahr, are dependent on Karun river and its subsidiaries (KWPA, 2000 and 2001). According to the World Commission on Dam’s report (WCD, 2000), Iran with 7.2 million hectares of land under irrigation agriculture is the largest in the Middle East, followed by Turkey (42 million ha) and Iraq (3.5 million ha). A large proportion of Iran’s irrigated lands are in the Khuzestan province. Country wide 90% of Iran’s freshwater needs are from groundwater sources and only 10% from rivers. In Khuzestan province however the opposite is true as 85% of its freshwater need is provided by rivers and only 15% taken from groundwater.

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