Bakhtegan Lake, once Iran’s second largest lake in the southern province of Fars, has now turned into barren land as dams built by the Iranian government dried out its source.
Bakhtegan Lake was home to a variety of animals including flamingos and other birds which migrated from Russia and Siberia and played a very important role in the region’s ecosystem.
The lake also increased humidity in the otherwise dry region. Due to the high altitude of the surrounding mountains, the moisture stayed in the area and helped trees prosper in the area.
According to the ILNA state-run news agency, Bakhtegan Lake completely dried out after dams were built on its water source, the Kor River. The drying out of the lake had led to numerous problems for the people in the region in addition to environmental issues.
Kor River fed the lake 1.7 billion cubic meters of water every year. The water is now stored behind dams built by Iran’s Ministry of Energy and Fars Province’s Water Organization at the river’s source.
“The Ministry of Energy has turned into a system that sells water, builds dams and sells wells,” an environmentalist told the ILNA news agency.
“The Ministry of Energy has forgotten its mission of preserving water resources,” Sirous Zareh added.
The environmentalist said that 150 villages on the outskirts of Kor River had become underpopulated as the residents have no drinking water.
“There was talk in summer about installing drinking water pipes from Doroodzan Dam to the Korbal region but unfortunately, the villagers have been deprived of this water and despite the fact that 90 villages are on the pipeline route, the pipeline has been diverted to be used for the industrial sector,” he added.
The 275 km Kor River was once one of the most beautiful rivers in Iran which has all but dried out as a result of dam building. The Korbal farmlands which once used the water from the river to thrive have now turned into barren land.