Iran’s soil is experiencing a slow and silent death. Despite the many warnings of domestic and international experts, the regime has not done anything to stop the destruction of the country’s environment, and in fact, its exploitive actions are only increasing the destruction.
Since 2005, water and soil experts have consistently warned that Iran is suffering from irreversible environmental destruction. They have said that Tehran’s ground is subsiding around 17cm annually, and this is not just happening in Tehran; many other cities are reporting the same situation. For example, reports have indicated that fields in Varamin, east of the capital, have subsidence of 12cm, while Mashhad city in the northeast, reported that this year the fields around the city, as well as the ground of the city have subsided by 24cm.
The state-run news agency ISNA reported that the reason behind this disaster is the prodigal groundwater withdrawal. It wrote, “When the amount of withdrawal is more than the amount of sustenance of the aquifers, the earth moves downwards and finally the soil particles are compressed and, in such conditions, the phenomenon of subsidence finds another meaning and that is the ‘death of aquifers’.
It added, “Because the aquifer particles are compressed due to subsidence and can no longer return to their real state. Hence the phenomenon of subsidence is referred to as ‘an irreversible risk’.”
The damage in the cities is already weakening the foundations of buildings and structures, with dangerous cracks appearing in the buildings making them uninhabitable. Longitudinal structures, such as roads and railways, power lines, gas and oil pipes, power plants, and refineries, must be carefully aligned and any diversion from this will have severe and dangerous results. These situations, it is creating a life-risking situation for the Iranian people.
The head of Iran’s geological water group of the Geological Survey of Minerals and Exploration has indicated that “in 13 years in some basins, four times as much water that has entered the plain, has been withdrawn by various means, including agriculture.’ So, it would not be strange to witness a ‘water depletion on the horizon.’
In this regard, in an interview with ISNA, Dr. Iman Entezam stated other facts about this environmental crisis. He said, “The groundwater situation in the country is somewhat clear to everyone, and we have witnessed a decrease in groundwater reserves since about 1993-1994 due to improper withdrawal, the creation of illegal wells, climate change, and lack of proper water management in the country that happened all over the country.”
Other regime experts have said that subsidence is nothing new and that it has been occurring in the country for the past 10 to 15 years, and it is only now that they are realizing its results. They have begun referring to this phenomenon as ‘Earth cancer’ because the regime is now in a situation where it is unable to do anything about it anymore.
One of the reasons that the experts have said is having a major effect on the water scarcity in the country is the regime’s unscientific dam creation, which has destroyed the country’s indigenous engineering. These dams are the main causes of the vast evaporation of the country’s water resources that are accumulated behind these dams. As a result of the mismanagement of the resources, the regime has completely destroyed the country’s dryland farming.
With the amount of agricultural capable soil, theoretically, Iran would be able to produce and provide enough cereal for the whole of the Middle East region.
The most dangerous province in the country in terms of subsidence is Isfahan in central Iran. It is the only metropolis in the country where subsidence has severely penetrated the city. The subsidence rate in the Tehran plain is said to be about 6 to 7cm., and the regime does not seem to be concerned at all. Around the world, in cases where the subsidence rates are higher than 7cm, warning sirens are usually sounded to alert people to the danger it may cause.
The subsidence rate in Fars’s province is also high, like in other provinces. While the main faults of the country are mainly located in Kerman province, this province is also facing subsidence which has dramatically increased the risk factor of impending disasters.
North Khorasan, in the northeast, which has suffered major natural crises such as floods and earthquakes, mostly above five magnitudes on the Richter Scale, must now add to its books the risks of dangerous subsidence.
The plains of Yazd-Ardakan and Abarkooh in Yazd province have been noted to have the highest rates of subsidence in the province. Due to the lack of groundwater resources, lack of catchments, and reliance on internal resources, Markazi (Central) province is also facing rising levels of subsidence. Across Iran, it has been noted that around 609 plains in the country are currently exposed to subsidence.