Total views : 345

Water Crisis in Iran: Its Intensity, Causes and Confronting Strategies


  • Center for Biological Sciences and Technology, Faculty of Basic Sciences, Imam Hossein University, Tehran, Iran, Islamic Republic of
  • Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran, Islamic Republic of


Objectives: This investigation was done in order to study Iran’s water crisis intensity as well as its causes and also to propose some solution to confront and mitigate this crisis. Methods/Statistical Analysis: This research was carried out as a documentary and library research using Grounded Theory Method. Also 3 famous and common water crisis indexes were used in order to assess Iran’s water crisis. Findings: Results of all investigated indexes showed and confirmed that Iran is in intense water stress condition. Among the factors causing and intensifying this crisis the most important factors are: Irregular water consumption and increasing demand for water along with limited water resources and consequently water supply-demand imbalance; Rapid urbanization along with population growth and its unsuitable geographical distribution across the country; Iran’s geographical and climatic condition as a country in arid and semi-arid region of the world; Mismanagement of water resources; Improper development of agriculture section along with unsuitable cropping pattern in agriculture. Application/Improvement: some exit strategies in two categories of short-term and long-term solutions are presented at the end in order to confront water crisis condition of Iran.


Drought, Water Crisis, Water Crisis Index, Water Resources, Water Efficiency.

Full Text:

 |  (PDF views: 493)


  • Motiee H, Salamat A, Bean MCEE. Drought as a water related disaster; a case study of Oroomieh Lake. Aqua-LAC. 2012; 4(2):7–18.
  • Srinivasan V, Lambin EF, Gorelick SM, Thompson BH, Rozelle S. The nature and causes of the global water crisis: Syndromes from a meta-analysis of coupled human-water studies. Water Resources Research. 2012; 48:1–16.
  • WEF. Global Risks 8thedn. WEF: Geneva. Available from: accessed: 2013.
  • Roudi-Fahimi F, Creel L, Souza DRM. Finding the balance: population and water scarcity in the Middle East and North Africa. Population Reference Bureau, MENA Policy Brief: Washington. 2002.
  • Khodarahimi S, Deghani H. Hopefulness, positive and negative emotions in rural residents with drink water shortage: an Iranian case study. Problems of Psychology in the 21st Century. 2012; 3:32–41.
  • Lehane S. The Iranian Water Crisis. Strategic Analysis Paper. Future Directions International. 2014.
  • Madani K. Water management in Iran: what is causing the looming crisis? Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. 2014; 4(4):315–28.
  • Zolpirani NM, Amirnejad H, Shahnazari A. Calculating the economic value of water in paddy farms in the area of Alborz Dam. Journal of Novel Applied Sciences. 2015; 4(2):197–201.
  • Seckler D, Amarasinghe U, Molden D, Silva DR, Barker R. World water demand and supply, Scenarios and issues. International Water Management Institute. Research Report 19: Colombo, Sri Lanka. 1998; 1990–20125.
  • Gürsoy SI, Jacques PJ. Water security in the Middle East and North African region. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. 2014; 4(4):310–4.
  • Michel D, Pandya A, Hasnain SI, Sticklor R, Panuganti S. Water Challenges and Cooperative Response in the Middle East and North Africa. Brookings Institution: Washington DC. 2012; 1–44.
  • World Bank. Making the most of scarcity accountability for better water management results in the Middle East and North Africa. MENA development report: Washington DC. Available from:, Date accessed: 2007.
  • Falkenmark M. The massive water scarcity threatening Africa: why isn't it being addressed? Ambio. 1989; 18(2):112–8.
  • Perveen S, James LA. Scale invariance of water stress and scarcity indicators: Facilitating cross-scale comparisons of water resources vulnerability. Applied Geography. 2011; 31(1):321–8.
  • Raskin P, Gleick P, Kirshen P, Pontius G, Strzepek K. Water Futures: assessment of long-range patterns and prospects. Stockholm Environment Institute: Stockholm, Sweden. 1997; 14(2):147–52.
  • Kjellen M, Granahan MCG. Comprehensive assessment of the freshwater resources of the world. Report prepared for the 5th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, Stockholm Environment Institute: Stockholm. 1997.
  • Seckler D, Molden D, Barker R. Water Scarcity in the Twenty-First Century. Water Brief 1, International Water Management Institute: Colombo, Sri Lanka. 1998.
  • FAO. AQUASTAT Main Database, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Available from:, Date accessed: 2014.
  • Saemian S. Adaptation Strategies to impacts of climate change and variability on Tehran water supply in 2021: An application of a Decision Support System (DSS) to compare adaptation strategies. Master thesis in Sustainable Development at Uppsala University. 2012; 47 pp.
  • World Bank. World Development Indicators. World Bank: Washington DC, Available from:, Date accessed: 2016.
  • Rahimi H. Water crisis: An unknown global challenge. Peyk Noor. 2003; 1(2):24–33.
  • Madaeni SS, Ghanei M. Reverse osmosis as a solution for water shortage in Iran. Proceedings of International Conference on Water Resources and Arid Environment, King Saud University, Riyadh. 2004. p. 1–5.
  • Babran S, Honarbakhsh N. Water situation crisis in the world and Iran. Rahbord Journal. 2008; 16(48):193–212.
  • Kh B, Khosravy S, Javadi M, Nejad HM. Water crisis in the Middle East (challenges and solutions). Proceedings of 4th International Congress of the Islamic World Geographers (ICIWG), Iran. 2010; 1–15.
  • Rouhani H. National Security and Economic System of Iran. Center for Strategic Research Press: Tehran. 2010.
  • Khorram HR. Management solution to encounter water crisis. Proceedings of 30th Symposium of Geosciences, geological survey and mineral exploration of Iran, Tehran, Iran. 2012; 1–4.
  • Shahedi M, Abad THF. Introducing some indices to evaluate the balance of water resources and sustainable development, Case study: Qareh-Qum basin in Iran. Journal of Water and Sustainable Development. 2014; 1(1):73–39.
  • Jani MI, Yazdanian N. The analysis of water crisis conjecture in Iran and the exigent measures for its management. Ravand Quarterly. 2014; 21(65 -66):117–44.
  • Balagafshe MM. Water crisis, biggest environmental challenge of Iran in 21st century. Proceedings of 2nd National Conference on Environment Hygiene, Health and Sustainable Environment, Iran; 2015. p. 1–12.
  • Faramarzi M, Yang H, Mousavi J, Schulin R, Binder CR, Abbaspour KC. Analysis of intra-country virtual water trade strategy to alleviate water scarcity in Iran. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences. 2010; 14(1):1417–33.
  • Taheri SD, Alizadeh K. Water in crisis: paths to sustainable water use. EBNESINA- Journal of Medical. 2011; 14 (1 - 2):55–60.
  • Jajarmi K, Pishgamifard Z, Mahkooi H. Investigation on environmental threats in Iran's national security. Rahbord Journal. 2013; 22(67):193–230.
  • Ebramimiyan S, Nohtani M. Investigation on water crisis caused due to lack of optimal management at agriculture sector for sustainable development in agriculture. Proceedings of the First National Conference on Challenges on Water Resources and Agriculture, Iran. 2013. p. 1–9.
  • Ebadi A, Borhani M. Water crisis and insecurity in the Middle East. Proceedings of 2nd National Conference of Water Crisis in Iran and the Middle East, Iran. 2015. p. 1–9.
  • Sinaee V, Hydropolitics H. Security and development in relations among Iran, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Quarterly Foreign Relations. 2011; 3(2):185–211.
  • Rahnema H, Mirassi S. Drought and Water Crisis in Plains of Iran: A Case Study of Marvdasht and Khanmirza Plains, Fars and Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province, Iran. International Bulletin of Water Resources and Development. 2014; 2(1):139–54.
  • Barazandeh M, Khalilpoor N, Amirpoor M. Water and human security. Proceeding of the 2nd International Conference on Human Security in West Asia (ICHSWA), Iran. 2015. p. 1–12.
  • Javan J, Soleiman FM. Water crisis and need for attention to efficiency of agricultural water at arid areas, case study: Birjand plain. Geography and development Iranian Journal. 2008; 11:115–38.
  • Mousavi SN, Akbari SMR, Soltani GH, Mehrjardi ZM. Proceeding of the National Conference on Water Crisis Management, Iran. 2010. p. 1–21.
  • Fatemi M, Karami E. The impacts and causes of drought: A case study. Iranian Agricultural Extension and Education Journal. 2011; 6(2):77–96.
  • Perry CJ. Charging for Irrigation Water: The Issues and Options, with a Case Study from Iran. Research Report 52. International Water Management Institute: Colombo, Sri Lanka. 2001.
  • Naderi M, Naderi MR. Assessing the environmental effects of dams. Proceeding of 11thStudents Conference on Civil Engineering, Iran. 2004. p. 641–9.
  • Abolhasani N, Sayadi MH. Negative environmental effects of dams and ways to mitigate it. Proceeding of the First National Conference on Civil Engineering, Zibakenar, Iran. 2012. p. 1–6.
  • Lesani MT, Jafari H. The role of water supply management in rural economy with an emphasis on earth dams construction (case study: Bakhazr County). Indian Journal of Science and Technology. 2015; 8(3):28–32.
  • Lesani MT, Jafari H. The artificial feeding of qanat: an approach towards satisfaction and the reduction of villagers’ migration motivations (case study: Bakhazr County). Indian Journal of Science and Technology. 2015; 8(3):44–7.
  • Semenova NN, Busalova SG, Eremina OI, Makeikina SM, Ivanova IA. Assessment of sustainable development of rural areas of Russia. Indian Journal of Science and Technology. 2016; 9(14):1–6.
  • Milutinovic S, Lausevic R, Perlman PJ, Bartula M, Solujic A. Local water security assessment for improved water management in selected countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Technical report for the project Sustainable Use of Transboundary Water Resources and Water Security Management (WATER SUM), Component 2: Water and Security. Regional Environmental Center, Szentendre, Hungary. 2016.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.