Several Arrested In Western Iranian City During Water Protest

Iranian authorities have confirmed the arrest of 25 people during a protest on August 24 against a cut in water supplies in the western Iranian city of Hamedan.

Mohammad Ali Mohammadi, the governor of Hamedan, accused the detainees -- who were attending three different demonstrations -- of creating insecurity and panic among the public.

Water cuts in Hamedan have led to weeks of street protests and were initially tolerated by security forces, but as they continued, police began moving in on gatherings, such as the demonstrations on August 24 where they arrested many protesters.

Officials in Hamedan Province have been promising to solve the problem for weeks, but so far they've done nothing to fix the situation.

Water remains cut off in large areas of the city of Hamedan for up to 20 hours a day, while residents say the water they do get is undrinkable.

The situation mirrors that in many cities across the country where water shortages -- and protests over the crisis -- are becoming more commonplace.

Diminishing water supplies are seen as an existential threat to Iran, where poor water management, drought, and corruption-ridden infrastructure projects have contributed to water scarcity.

Experts say climate change has amplified the droughts and floods plaguing Iran and that their intensity and frequency threaten food security.

The Iranian Meteorological Organization has estimated that 97 percent of the country is experiencing drought to some degree.

Mismanagement by authorities has also been cited as a leading cause for the water crisis.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda