Ghanoon Newspaper reports the 40% reduction of water in the Karoon River and approval for the Vanak Project. The Vanak Project is set to transfer Karoon river water from its source in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari over 640 kilometers to pistachio gardens in Rafsanjan. The newspaper proposes the two million hectares of agricultural lands in the Khuzestan province which have become arid due to reduction of water sources as the main cause of dust storms in the region. Mohammad Darvish, environmental expert says, as a result of similar mismanagement, even though agricultural lands have been doubled in Western Azerbaijan, the government is forced to spend 20 trillion tomans to restore Uremia Lake.
Shahrvand Newspaper reports that the high salt content in the water of Shayegan Groves has dried one third of the palm trees. Recently, Shayegan had 4.5 million palm trees and their number has been reduced to 3 million palm trees. In 2015, Shayegan Groves were responsible for 80% of Khuzestan’s date exports to Russia and Turkey yielding 50 million dollars. Now, the reduced rainfall, unstudied dam building and lack of drainage for higher waters to water plants have led to such high salt content levels in the grove water that Seyyed Reza Noori, Representative of Shush reports that mounds of salt have gathered at the base of the trees and their dates have become inedible. Mr. Noori reports that 60% of people in the Shayegan region subsist purely on date farming. The question of whether Rafsanjan pistachio takes priority over Khuzestan dates, is one yet to be answered.