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Watch This Space: Iran Water Protests

 Zayandeh Rud (Isfahan River) without water in drought — at Si-o-se pol (bridge), Isfahan.

Zayandeh Rud (Isfahan River) without water in drought — at Si-o-se pol (bridge), Isfahan.

Iran is currently experiencing extreme water shortages. The Center for Climate and Security and others have reported on the water crisis in the country for some time, but it continues unabated. Iran has experienced a reported 14 years of successive drought, and today Twitter is abuzz with images of protests in Isfahan, Iran, over water shortages in the area.

As with so many water problems, this is a crisis primarily about water management, and the current Iranian government does not seem up to the task. With so many other security risks demanding the attention of leaders in the region and internationally, it remains unclear whether or not better water management will receive the attention it deserves (See “Iran: Dried Out” by Najmeh Bozorgmehr for more on the need for Iran to improve its governance of this vital resource).

Of course, water is not known to acknowledge political boundaries, so Iran’s water problems will not remain confined to the nation for very long. Given broader instability in the region, and the likelihood of a continued decline in precipitation levels (due to the effects of climate change), the international community should pay very close attention to what’s happening in Isfahan.