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9th International Rainwater Catchment Systems Conference
"Rainwater 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

Paper 1.8

Sustainable Water Resources Management in Arid and Semiarid Regions of the World: A Case Study in Iran

Massoud Goodarzi & Amir Hossein Charkhabi
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.

PDF of full document (6pp, 30kb)

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