Neoliberalization, Separations, and Environmental Crises - Emphasizing the Ecological Crisis of Lake Urmia, Iran

Document Type : Original Article


Urmia University


Purpose- The ecological crisis of Lake Urmia began in 1995, and its critical state was announced in 2014. Previous studies have demonstrated that farmers and water management in agriculture sector are the main contributors to the crisis. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate the role of neoliberalization in water financing, commodification, and privatization programs in reducing the water level of Lake Urmia.
Design/methodology/approach- This research is descriptive-analytical in terms of method. The method of data collection is also documentary and field interviews. The documents include the laws of First Plans (1990) to the Fifth (2011) of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Fair Water Distribution Acts (1982), and the Provincial Agricultural, and Water Development Documents. The documentary analysis approach corresponds to the interpretive analysis paradigm of information analysis.
Findings- What the represented results and the discussions indicate is that when politics and economics are together (as it always is today), separation becomes a neoliberal trick to restore order and self-preservation, and it causes, “The separation of the elements of water, the exploiter, the private interest from the public interest, and from each other”. In this way, by using fake tricks in the name of development and protection, it uses the environment and water resources to gain legitimacy and capital accumulation and transfers the costs of these conspiracies to the environment and the water source.
Original/value- Nevertheless, it seems that the policies of structural adjustment and implementation of programs in different governments have created different "separations" and they have imposed enormous environmental costs on water resources.


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  • Receive Date: 07 July 2021
  • Revise Date: 29 September 2021
  • Accept Date: 13 October 2021
  • First Publish Date: 13 October 2021