History of Environmental Change in the Sistan Basin

Based on satellite image analysis between 1976 and 2005, this report narrates the history of the Sistan Basin, underlines its socio-economic importance and highlights its environmental problems. The main objective of this study is to gain insight into the environmental dynamics of the Sistan basin.


This remote sensing survey represents a first step towards a comprehensive understanding of the causes of environmental change, which ought to be based on a thorough climatic and hydrological analysis. Substantial resources have been allocated under a joint Dutch-Iranian project to carryout a detailed analysis of integrated water resources management in the Sistan Basin, which was completed in January 2006.


The report adds that one of the most important issues at stake is the transboundary water management of the Helmand River. A water-sharing arrangement between Iran and Afghanistan was agreed in 1973, according to which Iran was to receive a discharge of 22 m3/s and be permitted to purchase an additional four m3/s. After a hiatus of several decades, discussions on this treaty were reactivated with the reconvening of the Iran-Afghanistan Water Commission in September 2005.

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