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The unforgiving summer heat in Iran is making life increasingly tough for its residents, especially those who lack the basic amenity of air conditioning. Rising temperatures, soaring as high as 57 degrees Celsius, combined with long-standing mismanagement of water resources, have resulted in a precarious situation, leaving many Iranians in dire straits.

Source: TRT World/YouTube

In the southern parts of the country, areas prone to droughts and heatwaves due to the desert landscape and proximity to the Persian Gulf, a deadly combination of poverty and scorching heat is overwhelming people. Salty or dry taps, along with unaffordable air-conditioning, have become the norm, exacerbating an already worsening situation.

The UN water expert Kaveh Madani termed Iran’s situation as “water bankruptcy“. He blames the crisis on misguided policies promoting agriculture and development that led to water consumption exceeding supply for so long that reversing the depletion is now impossible.

As groundwater reserves dry up and Climate change intensifies, droughts worsen. Iranians, particularly in rural areas, struggle to afford trucked-in or store-bought water. Unsurprisingly, water shortages sparked protests in 2021, highlighting the growing dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of the crisis.

Everyday life has become a struggle for many, with no alternative but to rely on saline water or wells contaminated with dead rats and insects. The southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan faces an even grimmer situation. As per a government official, it may run out of municipal water entirely by September.

Residents have had to adapt to this harsh reality, reducing their water usage to the absolute minimum and adjusting their daily routines to the heat. However, for many who work outdoors, there is no escape from the sun.

While the situation is dire, the resilience of the Iranian people is evident. Their lives, however, are a stark reminder of the urgent need for better water management and climate change mitigation strategies.

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