Hope Rises for Karoun River

Karoun River is situated in west of Iran and it is 950 km long.

An expert team from Geneva Canton Water Department recently visited Karun River in Khuzestan to closely view the current situation of the watershed and assess possible cooperation with UNDP and Khuzestan Water and Power Department on renaturation of this important river.

This team included Mr. Etienne Monbaron, Head of Water Dynamic Section, Mr. Pidoux Franck, Project Leader at River Renaturation Office, Mr. Paulo Miguel Lopes, Head of Water Protection Section and Ms. Sepideh Nayemi, International Cooperation Coordinator and River Renaturation.

Karun River is Iran’s most effluent river which was also navigable in the past.  It is stretched from the Zard Kuh mountains in the Zagros Range, and receives many tributaries from 7 provinces located in the basin, before passing through the capital of the Khuzestan Province of Iran, the city of Ahvaz and continuing towards the Persian Gulf.

During the mission which took place from 8 to 11 November – organized and accompanied by UNDP Environment and Sustainable Development team and a group of experts from Khuzestan Water & Power Authorities and Department of Environment – the Geneva Canton team visited several parts of Karun River from upstream in Gotwand Dam, Gargar  branch, Shoushtar Hydraulic System, Shoteit branch, up to Mared Pumping station, Arvand River in Abadan and several other hotspots and were introduced to different challenges faced by this vast water system including pollution, sewage discharge and  land fill, embankments and other issues.

Following the mission, in an interview with IRNA, Mr. Monbaron pointed out the importance of the ecosystems and habitats of the Karun River.  He also focused on several issues regarding pollution, sewage discharge, erosion and encroachment into the river zone and the decreased quality of water which has been the result of increase in agricultural activities as well as industrial and human pressures.

Dr. Ali Nazaridoust, UNDP Environment and Sustainable Development Cluster Programme Analyst stated that it is not too late to reverse the destiny of this river and bring it back to its past quality.  He also mentioned that a key to success can be learning from the past experiences of other countries and avoid repeating them in Iran.

In regards to the mission he said: “Following an agreement among UNDP, Khuzestan General governor H.E. Dr. Moghtadaei, Khuzestan Water and Power Authority and Khuzestan Department of Environment to initiate cooperation in the field of environment, especially Karun River, UNDP communicated with the Geneva Canton Administration and this visit was planned for a group of experts to assess the current situation of this river”, he added.

The aim of the visit to Ahvaz by the UN delegation and Geneva team was to assess different hotspots and select a few reaches of Karoun River as candidate pilot site for design and implementation of ecologic river management methods experienced in Geneva cannot as “River Renaturation” to help recover the river from its current state.

(Source: UNDP in Iran)

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