The River Zayandeh, one of the most important water sources in Iran, has dried up below Lake Urmia due in part to drought that has blighted the country for several years, but also in part to diversions of water.
Farmers in the region launched the protests, arguing that the River Zayandeh has dried up due to a change of water direction.
The people of Isfahan city also supported the farmers’ demonstration against the drying up of the river, and on Friday 19 November the demonstrations turned into an action attended by thousands of people.
“Where is our Zayandeh River?”, “Is it the Zayandeh River or the Dead River?” the people chanted, carrying placards and banners, and demanding that the authorities take the necessary steps for the revival of the river.
People also carried banners saying, “East Isfahan has become desert”, and “Our water is being held hostage”.
While farmers blamed the government, arguing that the river has dried up due to its diversion to Yazd province, the Iranian government has promised to support the farmers and resolve the crisis, but also added that this may take months.
Iran has suffered from a lack of water for years, and is a country that faces a serious threat of drought. In July the oil-rich province of Ahvaz, located in the southwestern part of the country and bordering Iraq, also witnessed protests over the water crisis. The protesters were faced with brutal police violence, and it was reported that several people lost their lives as a result.