Hundreds protest over lack of water in Iran's drought-hit west

The public blames officials for unresolved issues on drinking water

Low water levels at the Amir-Kabir dam on the Karaj River in northern Iran. EPA
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Hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets in western Iran over a lack of drinking water and the inability of officials to solve the problem, state media reported on Thursday.

Iran, a largely arid country, has for years suffered chronic dry spells and heatwaves that are expected to worsen with climate change.

In the past few months, thousands of people angry over the drying up of rivers have been driven to protest, particularly in central and south-western Iran.

About 200 people gathered in front of the governor's office in Hamadan on Wednesday evening "to protest against the interruption of the urban water network", the state news agency Irna reported.

They were later joined by "several hundred people" in what was a second successive night of protests over water shortages in the western city, Irna reported.

The demonstrators "held empty water bottles in their hands", shouted "slogans against the officials" and "demanded urgent action to provide drinking water to the city", it reported.

Dozens of people, including women, could be seen calling on fellow citizens to "show their courage" and take part in the demonstration, a video published on Thursday by Hamshahri newspaper showed.

Parts of Hamadan had been "experiencing water cuts for eight days", leading to demands from the protesters for the resignation of the governor and "incompetent officials", it reported.

The aftermath of last month's flash flood in Imam Zadeh Davood, north-west of Tehran. Photo: Iranian Red Crescent Society / EPA

Police last month arrested several suspects for disturbing security after they demonstrated against the drying up of Lake Urmia, in Iran's north-western mountains.

Over the past decade, Iran has also endured regular floods that have been made worse when torrential rain falls on sun-baked earth.

At the end of last month, 96 were killed in more than a week of flooding in several regions, including dozens near Tehran, the authorities said.

Updated: August 25, 2022, 11:44 AM