This study focuses on the water crisis prevalent in Iran since 2000, particularly in Varzaneh, where the irrigation systems are being fed by the Zayandeh Rud River. Residents of Varzaneh have mostly been farmers for over 800 years, and this region, in particular, has suffered severe water shortage over the last 15 years. Previous studies on arid lands in Iran suggested that most farmers facing water shortage in this region chose to migrate to regions with better water resources. However, it is noteworthy that peoples in this region prefer to resolve water shortage water shortage rather than migrating from there.
This study aimed to reveal how this water shortage has affected there with respect to its irrigation systems and the occupations and lives of its residents, and to consider what makes the choices of the residents of Varzaneh different from those of people residing in other arid lands.
According to our field survey, in contrast with other arid lands, Varzaneh has not been dominated by the traditional landlord-tenant system. This situation has consequently affected the behaviors of farmers. However, the present water shortage has damaged not only the irrigation systems but also every aspect of these farmers’ lives, like a sudden man-made disaster, because the water distribution in the Zayandeh Rud River has changed since the 2000s.