‘Caspian Sea water transfer more disastrous than nuclear explosion’

January 24, 2018

TEHRAN – The detrimental impacts of transferring water from the Caspian Sea to the central province of Semnan can be more catastrophic than a nuclear explosion, Mohammad Darvish, a faculty member of the Research Institute of Forests and Rangelands said on Monday.

Transferring water from the Caspian Sea can lead to multi-sided environmental disasters both for the sea and regions along the route, Darvish said, Mehr news agency reported.

He described two possible scenarios for this transfer, both of which damaging the environment. 

If the water desalination is carried out at the source, the Caspian Sea will be more salinized, threatening its ecosystem more than ever, he said, adding, “The pollution level of the sea is currently 40 times above the standard range, and it cannot withstand any further pollution.”

The second scenario is to do the desalination at the destination. This means that salty water is going to flow in pipelines through Hyrcanian forests, he added. “If due to an earthquake or chemical reactions or any other reason the pipe bursts, a true catastrophe will occur in the forests which can be even more disastrous than a nuclear explosion.”

“Why instead of pursuing the simpler solution of managing wastewater, we are eager to invest millions of dollars in water transfer?”

He further noted that such programs need to be approved by other Caspian Sea littoral cities, adding, “They have a share in the sea water as well.” 

Since fishing and tourism in the northern provinces crucially depend on the sea, any damaging project can negatively affect the economy of the regions, highlighted Darvish.

Due to the lack of water resources in the central regions of Iran and the ever increasing need for this vital element for development, ninth administration proposed a plan for transferring the Caspian Sea water to Semnan Province in 2005. Eventually the transferring project was approved in June, 2012.

Since then, the Department of Environment has delayed the project due to its potential environmental issues, however, it seems that the new environment chief is showing the green light for this transfer. 

“Why instead of pursuing the simpler solution of managing wastewater, we are eager to invest millions of dollars in water transfer?” phrased Darvish who resigned from the Department of Environment in October 2017 to express his discontent over the changed policies of the department.

“We spend millions of dollars [for these kind of projects] with the aim of improving the life quality of our people, but at the end of the day, we [actually] aggravate the living conditions, isn’t that absurd?” he concluded.

MAH/MQ/MG

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