Assessing the vulnerability of the river systems in the Jarahi River Basin

Document Type : Complete scientific research article


1 Postgraduatestudent,Watershed Management Dept., Faculty of Rangeland and Watershed Management, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

2 Professor, Dept. of Arid Zone Management, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

3 Assistant Professor, Dept. Natural Resources Engineering & Institute of Natural Resources and Environment, Yasouj University


Background and Objectives: The occurrence of climate change and its impact on surface water and groundwater resources, along with inappropriate management of water resources have led to an increase in the social and environmental vulnerability of river systems. Assessing the vulnerability of river basins, especially in developing countries such as Iran is essential and is considered as one of the main priorities of the water resources planners for the sustainable management of these resources and for the formulating of policies consistent with the regional conditions. In this line, this paper focuses on the assessment of the vulnerability of the Jarahi River Basin.
Materials and Methods: The study area of this research, the Jarahi River Basin, with an area of about 24000 square kilometers is located in southwest of Iran with a population of about 870000 people. In this research, the River Basin Vulnerability (RBV) method was used to assess the vulnerability of the Jarahi River Basin. This method examines the vulnerability of ecosystem and human simultaneously and consists of a total of six main indicators including ‘governance’, ‘economic status’, ‘social condition’, ‘environment’, ‘water stress’, and ‘natural hazards’ indicators. In this method, data are evaluated quantitatively. The combination of these indicators is based on a raster summation algorithm which can be carried out in the ArcGIS platform.
Results: The anlysis shows that the vulnerability of the Jarahi River Basin corresponding to each of the indicators of governance, enconomic status, social condition, environment, hazards and water stress are 0.76, 0.41, 0.061, 0.43, 0.44 and 0. 84, respectively. The results exhibit that the Jarahi River Basin is severely threatened by natural hazards, and in particular, the flood hazard threatens all parts of the river basin. It is also exposed to high water stress. The highest water stress (0.76) associated with Shadegan sub-basin that is located in the southern part of the basin. In addition, Saiddon sub basin has the lowest literacy rate among the sub basin of the Jarahi River Basin with the rate of 79%. A significant part of the Shadeghan sub-basin exhibits considerable environmental impacts, interpreted as a discernible sign of human footprints in the area.
Conclusions: Generally, in the Jarahi River Basin, the vulnerability of three indicators, namely "governance", "water stress", and "natural hazards"are quite significant. In particular, flood assessment analysis shows that almost all the river basin is highly susceptible to flood hazard. Also, seismic hazard threatens a considerable portion of Behbahan and Takht-E Deraz sub-basins. The results regarding the water stress show that almost half of the basin (mostly Shadegan sub-basin) suffers from high water stress. Through controlling corruption, improving Iran’s political stability status and reducing the government fragility index, an improvement in the governence indicator can be achieved. Concerning the water stress indicator, given that the excessive use of water in the agriculture sector is mostly responsible for the high vulnerability state, changing the current land-use and accordingly the cropping pattern in the Jarahi River Basin will potentially have a positive impact on water stress indicator.Moreover, regarding the natural hazards, given the high potential of drought, flood, and earthquake occurrences in the research area,it is possible to somewhat reduce the incurred damages caused by these phenomena in the river basin by means of paying due attention to knowledge, awareness, planning and efficient management.


 1.Brikmann, J. 2006. Measuring vulnerability to promote disaster-resilient societies: Conceptual frameworks and definitions. In: J. Brikmann (Ed). Measuring vulnerability to natural hazards: Towards disaster resilient societies. United Nations University Press. 14p.
2.CIESIN. 2005a. Global subnational infant mortality rates (dataset). Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), Columbia University.
3.CIESIN. 2005b. Global subnational rates of child underweight status (dataset). Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), Columbia University.
4.Falkenmark, M. 1997. Meeting water requirements of an expanding world population. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 352: 929-936.
5.Fragile States Index, 2018. http://
6.Global Hunger Index, 2018. 68p. http://
7.World Bank. 2018. Org/governance/ wgi/index.asp:, 29p.
8.Kumar, T.S., Mahendra, R.S., Nayak, S., Radhakrishnan, K., Sahu, K.C. 2010. Coastal Vulnerability Assessment for Orissa State, East Coast of India. J. Coastal Res. 26: 3. 523-534.
9.Liu, C., Golding, D., and Gong, G. 2008. Farmers coping response to the low flows in the lower Yellow River: A case study of temporal dimensions of vulnerability. Global Environmental Change. 18: 543-553.
10.Moe, T.L., and Pathranakul, P. 2006. An integrated approach to natural disaster management public project management and its critical success factors, Inter. J. Disaster Prev. Manage. 15: 3. 396-413.
11.Ministry of Energy, Statistical Yearbook of Water Country 2011-2012. Preparation and compilation of the Water And watering Planning Office, Tehran, 2015.
12.Ministry of Energy. 2013. Updating the comprehensive water plan of the country, Resource inventory studies and water consumption in the Jarahi river basin, engineering advisory company fareyab pars.
13.O’Keefe, J. 1976. Place units in the hippocampus of the freely moving rat. Exp Neurol. 51: 78-109.
14.Pandey, V.P., Babel, M.S., Shrestha, S., and Kazama, F. 2010. Vulnerability of freshwater resources in large and medium Nepalese river basins to environmental change. Water Science and Technology-WST. Pp: 1525-1534.
15.Porhomat, G. 2016. A model for flood risk at the surface of the country's watersheds. Magazine Scientific research of Iran Watershed Science and Engineering. Tenth year, No. 34, Fall 2016.
16.Rahaman, M.M., and Varis, O. 2005. Integrated water resources management: evolution, prospects and future challenges. Sustainability: Science, Practice & Policy, 1(1), 1e9.
17.Shen, D., and Varis, O. 2000. World water vision: balancing thoughts after The Hague. Ambio, 29, 523e525.
18.Statistics Center of Iran, Statistical Yearbook of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad and Khuzestan provinces, 2015. Education, Health and Distribution of Financial Revenue.
19.Statistical Center of Iran, Statistical Population, Population and Housing Registry, (2016).
20.Tennant, D.L. 1976 In stream flow regimens for fish, wildlife, recreation and related environmental resources. Fisheries. 1: 6-10.
21.Tran, L.T., O’Neill, R.V., and Smith, E.R. 2012. A watershed-based method for environmental vulnerability assessment with a case study of the Mid-Atlantic region. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 34: 58-64.
22.Smith, B., and Wandel, J. 2006. Adaptation, adaptive capacity and vulnerability. Global Environmental Change. 16: 282-292.
23.UNDP (United Nations Development Program), 2013. Reducing disaster risk: A challenge for development. A Global Report, New York: UNDP- Bureaufor Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BRCP), available at: bcpr/disred/rdr.htm.
24.UNISDR (International Strategy for Disaster Reduction), 2004. Living with risk: A global review of disaster reduction initiatives. Geneva: UN Publications.
25.Varis, O., Kummu, M., and Salmivara, A. 2012. Ten major rivers in monsoon Asia-Pacific: An assessment of vulnerability. Applied Geography,32: 441-454.
26.Varis, O., Kummu, M., Lehr, Ch., and Shen, D. 2014. China's stressed waters: Societal and environmental vulnerability in China's internal and transboundary river systems. Applied Geography,53: 105-116.
27.World Bank, Global Development Report 2001-2000, Combating Poverty, 2003. Translation Agency for Management and Planning of the Country and others, First Edition, Organization for Management and Planning, Tehran.
28.Wang, X., Ma, F., Li, C., and Zhu, J. 2015. A Bayesian Method for Water Resources Vulnerability Assessment: A Case Study of the Zhangjiakou Region, North China. Hindawi Publishing Corporation Mathematical Problems in Engineering. 16p.
29.Wada, Y., Van Beek, L.P.H., Viviroli, D., Durr, H.H., Weingartner, R., and Bierkens, M.F.P. 2011. Global monthly water stress: II.Waterdemand and severity of water. Water Resources Research. in press, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. 15: 3785-3808.
30.WCS/CIESIN. 2017. Last of the Wild Project, v4.0 (LWP-2): Global Human Footprint Dataset (Geographic). Palisades, NY:Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), Socioeconomic Data and Application Center (SEDAC) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Accessed through Internet in 2018 http://sedac.
31.World Bank. 2017. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, 146p.
32.World Bank, 2018. Org/governance/ wgi/index.asp:, 29p.
33.Yanhui, L., Liang, T., Jing, W., and Xianqui, L. 2012. Study on Water Resource Vulnerability Evaluation of Hani Terrace Core Area in Yuanyang, Yunnan. Procedia Earth and Planetary Science, 5: 268-274.