The Stream, July 20, 2021: Iranian Water Crisis Leads To Deadly Protests


  • Deadly protests in Iran break out amid a worsening water crisis.
  • Argentina will allocate millions of dollars to mitigate drought along the Parana River.
  • More than 700 people in one German city are safe after disastrous flooding over the weekend kills nearly 200 across western Europe.
  • Marine harmful algal blooms in Florida and lack of action from the state’s governor prompts protests in St. Petersburg.

Deadly monsoon rains cause devastation in Mumbai, India.

“We have been talking about climate change and it is happening.” – State environment minister Aadtiya Thackeray. Heavy rainfall caused a landslide and a wall to collapse in the Indian city of Mumbai, killing more than 30 people. The Guardian reports that the rain also flooded a water purification plant, leaving part of the city without drinking water. Rain is expected to continue through the end of the week and the city is preparing for the death toll to rise.  

Water Shortages Lead To Deadly Protests In Iran

Protests over water shortages in Iran broke out over the weekend, resulting in the death of two young men, Al Jazeera reports. Amid the country’s worst drought in half a century, water shortages have destroyed agriculture and livestock farming and led to power blackouts. Most of the protests were held in Khuzestan, the majority-Sunni-Arab-minority province, which has frequently voiced concerns of marginalization.

  • Why it matters: A decades-long drought in one of the warming world’s most arid regions, heightened by what many consider to be governmental mismanagement, has set the stage for a severe, dangerously dry 2021. In June of this year, Circle of Blue reported that the National Water and Wastewater Engineering Company of Iran warned that at least 210 cities would face water shortages in the summer. Over 7,000 rural districts required the delivery of potable water via tanker trucks and other services. Many more communities are likely to be added to this list, and populous areas will be forced to ration water, said Hamid Reza Janbaz, the deputy adviser for water and soil in the Ministry of Agriculture Jihad.


$10.4 MILLION  

Argentina will allocate $10.4 million to mitigate ongoing drought on the Parana River, Reuters reports. The river originates in Brazil, where a lack of rain reduced cargo traffic and prompted environmental and drinking water quality concerns. In Argentina, the Parana serves as a major agricultural export hub. Low water levels on the river could mean grain farmers and exporters could lose more than $300 million.


The New York Times reports that over 700 people in Cologne, Germany, were found safe after heavy floods devastated much of the country last week. Thousands were reported missing across western Europe, and as of Monday morning, 195 people were found dead.


Marine harmful algal blooms in Florida are killing hundreds of tons of fish, the Independent reports. Environmental activists say the “red tide” of algae was worsened by industrial waste poured into Tampa Bay in March. Over the weekend, more than 100 people protested in the city of St. Petersburg, calling on Governor Ron DeSantis to declare a state of emergency and allocate resources to fight the algae.

  • Why it matters: In a first-ever assessment, researchers earlier this summer found that while marine harmful algal blooms aren’t increasing globally, they are increasingly regionally, especially in Europe and across much of the Americas. The dramatic increase in fish and shellfish farms are leading to more awareness of the blooms. However, because the farms introduce huge volumes of nutrients into nearshore waters, they may also be contributing to the marine water crisis.
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