for sustainable development

IWRM in Isfahan – Sustainable Water Management in Iran

The team of the German-Iranian IWRM project in Isfahan is developing a concept for integrated water resource management (IWRM) in the region around the Zayandeh river. 

Research approach

The Zayandeh river currently suffers from heavy overuse. In future, the river is to be used in a sustainable way, taking into account the various claims on its resources. The task at hand is therefore to develop and realise a concept for integrated water resource management (IWRM). 


The team began by analysing the needs of the various stakeholder sectors: industry, residential water management, agriculture, tourism and Nature. Taking these as its basis, the project team has drawn up a scenario of possible ideas for the future. In dialogue with the parties concerned, suitable courses of action have been agreed and implemented. 

Aids to decision-making 

Based on the analyses, the team is developing a system of decision-making aids for sustainable management of the water resources. It consists of two water management tools: a model for the quantitative simulation of water resources, and a second tool which takes account of the socio-economic factors. The tools are intended to provide support for the Iranian decision-makers and the project partners in the Ministry of Energy, Water and Wastewater Engineering and in the Water Authority of Isfahan. To this end, actual schedules and action plans are being devised for medium and long-term sustainable water resource management within the Zayandeh river catchment area. 

The overall analytical findings will be integrated into a uniform WRM information system with scope for expansion and supplementation as and when required. 


The Zayandeh, an inland river in Central Iran, is very important for the economic development of the semi-arid region of Isfahan. It is, however, heavily overused and is barely able to feed the Gav Khuni salt lake which is so significant in terms of bird migration as well as constituting an internationally recognised eco system. Water for agricultural irrigation is also becoming scarce. This project was preceded by an exploratory study on IWRM in Isfahan. 

Cooperation partners

inter 3 - Institut für Ressourcenmanagement (lead)
p2mberlin (Berlinwasser-Group)
Institute of Environmental Engineering and Management (IEEM) at the University of Witten/Herdecke
German Water Partnership e.V.
Water Authority Esfahan
Commission for the pollution abatement of Zayandeh Rud


Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Project duration


Engelbert Schramm

Contact person

Engelbert Schramm
Tel. 069 707 6919-17

More on this topic


Potenziale und Restriktionen des Gewächshausanbaus in Vorderasien. Engelbert Schramm und Karoline Kickler (2014). ISOE-Materialien Soziale Ökologie, Nr. 37. Frankfurt am Main Download (pdf)

Perspektiven eines nachhaltigen Tourismus in Isfahan – Eine Ressourcenanalyse. Engelbert Schramm und Arash Davoudi (2012). ISOE-Diskussionspapiere, Nr. 33. Frankfurt am Main Download (pdf)

Scenarios for Closed Basin Water Management in the Zayandeh Rud Catchment Area. Engelbert Schramm, Elnaz Sattary (2014). ISOE-Materials Social Ecology, No. 42. Frankfurt am Main Download (pdf)

Tourism in the Zayandeh Rud Catchment. Engelbert Schramm, Arash Davoudi (2014). ISOE-Materials Social Ecology, No. 41. Frankfurt am Main Download (pdf)

Agriculture in the Zayandeh Rud Catchment. Jörg Felmeden (2014). With support of Engelbert Schramm, Elnaz Sattary, Arash Davoudi. ISOE-Materials Social Ecology, No. 40. Frankfurt am Main Download (pdf)