What is it about?

Using an exceptionally rich measured groundwater dataset, we illustrate the extent and severity of Iran’s groundwater depletion and salinization problems during the 2002 to 2015 period, when the number of groundwater extraction points nearly doubled.

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Why is it important?

Iran is facing a state of water bankruptcy that threatens its socioeconomic development and natural environments. Our results based on high-resolution groundwater measurements reveal alarming water security threats associated with declining fresh groundwater quantity and quality due to many years of unsustainable use.


This paper offers insights into the environmental implications and limitations of water-intensive development plans that other water-scarce countries might adopt.

Roohollah Noori
Oulun Yliopisto

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This page is a summary of: Anthropogenic depletion of Iran’s aquifers, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, June 2021, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2024221118.
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