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News > Iran

Iran: Hamoun Lake and Wetlands Face Existential Risk

  • File photo of Hamoun lake, June 2020.

    File photo of Hamoun lake, June 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @TahminehMonzavi

Published 27 July 2023

This lake provides the livelihood base for thousands of people living in the border region between Iran and Afghanistan.

On Wednesday, an Iranian environmental official warned that the Hamoun Lake and Wetlands near the common border in southeastern Iran with Afghanistan could dry up completely, leading to an "environmental and humanitarian disaster."


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Mojtaba Zoljoudi, deputy for the marine environment and wetlands of the Iranian Department of Environment, called on environmental officials and the international community in Afghanistan to help revive the lake and wetlands, regardless of political issues.

Zoljoudi said the lake's survival depends on the floodwaters flowing into it from upstream rivers, including the Farah and Helmand, in Afghanistan.

However, he said the lake has dried up completely due to a "diversion in the Helmand River's route, construction of numerous dams on the Farah River, and Afghanistan's failure to uphold the historical and natural rights of the ecosystem."

Zoljoudi added that the sandstorms in the southeastern Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchestan have sent thousands of people to hospitals over the past weeks, noting that the storms even affected parts of Afghanistan.

During the past months, high-ranking Iranian officials have called on the Taliban to allow an average of 820 million cubic meters of water per year to Iran from the Helmand River under a 1973 water-sharing pact between Tehran and Kabul. The Taliban government said it is committed to the 1973 treaty and does not cause trouble for its neighbor.

The Helmand River originates in the Hindu Kush Mountains near Afghanistan's capital Kabul and runs more than 1,100 km south before flowing into Hamoun Lake and Wetlands. The lake and wetlands are a vital source of water and food for the people of Sistan and Baluchestan.

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