International Rainwater Catchment Systems Conference
Catchment: An Answer to the Water Scarcity of the Next Millennium."
Petrolina, Brazil - July 1999
Section 1: Strategy for Rainwater Utilization in the Next Millennium
Sustainable Water Resources Management in Arid and
Semiarid Regions of the World: A Case Study in Iran
Massoud Goodarzi & Amir Hossein
Soil & Water Conservation and
Watershed Management Research Center
P.O.Box 13445-1136, Teheran, Iran
Water tension is growing with the growing population of the
world. The demand for healthy and adequate food in any sustainable development
is among the most important sustainability indexes. In this context, water
resource management plays a very important role. At the present time, most of
the countries in the Middle East and North Africa are under water tension. In a
sustainable development, a sound management of water resources is crucial in
the socio-economical development of these countries in these regions.
The objectives of this paper are 1) to review the present
state of water resources management and water tension in the Middle East and
North Africa, 2) to review the water resource management in Iran, 3) to discuss
some case studies in the central desert arid condition of Iran.
The definition of sustainability with regard to arid and
semiarid conditions is discussed here. However, sustainability as used in the
environmental policy and research arena is indeed a complex issue. In general,
sustainability even on a local level has to address and relate to global
issues. With the advances in technology, the water utilisation has boosted the
underground water resources. The sustainability of the present state of
utilisation with the emphasis on the groundwater resources could be very
questionable. In the Middle East, for example, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan,
Israel and the Occupied Territories (The West Bank and Gaza) have a combined
population of nearly 42 million. Of these people, an estimated 41,5% rely on
transboundary streams and 52% utilise springs, wells and rivers supplied by
local precipitation. The remaining 6 % turn to water pumped from deep wells. At
the present time these water supplies are being taxed to their limits.
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