Following the recent protests over the water shortage of the Iranian people mainly in the Khuzestan province, there is no doubt that the Iranian regime has destroyed the country’s environmental system, and day after day while the situation is becoming worse, it adds to the people’s suffering.
Now many provinces of the country, including Khuzestan, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, and Sistan and Baluchestan are facing water stress, the role of illegal dams, and the implementation of water transfer projects in creating the current situation has received more attention.
In a shocking interview with Dr. Mohammad Javad Abdollahi, retired head of the Faculty of Geology of the Chamran University of Khuzestan, which was published by the state-run news agency 55 Online on 23 July 2021, one of the thousands of disasters created by this regime was revealed. Below is the translation:
“The year before the construction of Gotvand Dam in 1989 started, the Americans had proposed building the Gotvand Dam 20 km above the current reservoir.
“But in those years, the managers of the Iran Water and Power Resources Management Company believed that the Americans, because they wanted the dam reservoir to be small, raised this spatial difference. Therefore, they decided that the dam lake should be located right on the salt domes of Gachsaran. In 2001, in a letter to the Department of Industries and Mines, I emphasized that the studies conducted on this dam were not enough.
“In 2002, together with engineer Shamsaii, the then director-general of Khuzestan Water and Sewerage, I raised the issue that this dam has problems and could endanger the entire province of Khuzestan in terms of salinity.
“Shamsaii later became the head of the Gotvand Dam. I explained to him that the builders of the dam had basically not considered the geological studies of the area. They had no reports of geological studies. Mr. Shamsai then formed a 20-member group to study the dam. Mr. Shamsai’s study group wrote in his first report, ‘Wherever you prevent losses, there is a benefit.’
“Mr. Shamsaii, as the head of the Khuzestan Regional Water Department at that time, wrote a letter to all government officials asking them to stop the construction of the dam. The letter was sent to the President, the Minister of Energy, the Parliament, and the CEO of the Water and Power Company (Executive Company).
“After the construction of the dam, ironically, Engineer Shamsaii, who was the mayor of Ahvaz at that time, was elected as the head of the dam! After that, they received a series of consultations from different countries and universities in Iran, and it was decided to create a clay blanket to create a gap between the thick layers of salt and the lakebed. The head of the dam called me and proposed.
“At that time, 2.5 billion tomans had been spent for this dam. At that time, I was one of the constant critics of the construction of this dam, and my voice was not heard. Based on my experience and knowledge, I said that this would fail.
“The day of dewatering came and the then President (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) and the CEO of the Water and Power Company also came for water intake. I was contacted that day and I told the agents of the Water and Power Company to collect and bring up as many machines as you can at the bottom of the clay blanket, because there is no confidence in the stability of this clay wall, and it will definitely break in the next day or two and it does more damage to you. They accepted my advice, and the water intake took place on Wednesday. On Saturday, the head of the same department called me and informed me that the clay blanket had been broken and said, ‘How did you know?’
“10 days after the dewatering operation, the lower part of the dam, which is usually the underlying systems and sensitive devices and control sensors, was filled with salt; This happened exactly 10 days after dewatering; Something that was as clear to us as the daylight, and no one listened to whatever we warned.
“Later studies showed that all the areas around Gotvand and Aghili, the good agricultural lands of these areas are becoming salty due to the spread of salt and evaporation and people are losing all their property and no use can be made of the dam and its saltwater.
“Before the dewatering, we warned many times that the turbines purchased for the dam are for fresh water and you have spent billions for the water that will become saline. Now those turbines have no use for freshwater either. The turbines are now out of order.
“Recently, the public relations manager of Gotvand Dam Water and Power Company invited me to visit the dam. They said there is no salt as you think, and finally, there is a four-meter layer of salt that we take it out! To my surprise, I saw several thin layers of four to fifty meters.
“I asked the young man to choose the 50-meter range for speculation and digging, and to go as far as the 50-meter depth, then they would realize that they would encounter a huge sea of salt. Engineers from the Soil Mechanics Laboratory then estimated that the salt was up to 93 meters thick. After that, our friends in Gotvand Dam said, ‘We know what we have done to this area, and by God do not say anything and it should not become public!’” (state-run news agency, 55 Online, July 23, 2021)
The interesting part is that on the same day, the state-run news agency ISNA reported, “information and statistics related to the country’s dams, including dams in operation, dam project under construction and dams under study was available to the public through the information section of the country’s dams, namely daminfo.wrm.ir on the official website of Iran Water Resources Management Company (wrm. ir), which is a subdivision of the Ministry of Energy.
“According to the latest reports, this website was also available on April 27, 2021, but now access to this site has been blocked and the Ministry of Energy or the Iran Water Resources Management Company has not stated the reason for this.” (ISNA, July 23, 2021)