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Photos: Gavkhouni Wetland in Iran amid drought


Photos by Fatemeh Sadeghzadeh, ISNA

Before losing lots of water due to severe drought, Gavkhouni Wetland, located in Isfahan and Yazd Provinces, was the source of life for the wildlife in the Iranian Plateau for thousands of years. The last time that the water level in the wetland reached capacity was in 1993, but after that Gavkhouni gradually lost water.

When wetlands are dried up, floods will be inevitable, the volume of groundwater in storage will decrease, the quality of water will be affected, and there will be more erosion.


Wikipedia info on Gavkhouni:

Gavkhouni, located in the Iranian Plateau in central Iran, east of city of Isfahan, is the terminal basin of the Zayandeh River. Gavkhouni is a salt marsh with a salinity of 31.5% and an average depth of about 1 meter. The salt marsh can dry up in summer. The Zayandeh River originates in the Zagros mountains and travels around 300 km, before terminating in Gavkhouni.

Map of the Zayandeh/Gavkhouni drainage basin
Author: Kmusser Source: Wikimedia Commons

Gavkhouni receives pollution from Isfahan and other urban sources. Isfahan is a major oasis city on the Zayandeh River with a population over 1.5 million.

The marshes were designated a Ramsar site in 1975, the 19th wetland in Iran designated as a Wetland of International Importance on the Ramsar list. The wetland is home to a variety of migratory birds including flamingos, ducks, geese, gulls, pelicans, and grebes. The vegetation of the area is very specialised, as due to the salinity of the soil there are no green plants and trees around the lake, but in the wetland, different species such as reeds, cattail, Schoenoplectus, pondweeds and various algae grow.

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