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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Linking Water Scarcity to Mental Health: Hydro–Social Interruptions in the Lake Urmia Basin, Iran

1
Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain
2
Department of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Reading, Russell Building, Whiteknights Campus, PO Box 227, Reading RG6 6AB, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(5), 1092; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11051092
Received: 29 March 2019 / Revised: 17 May 2019 / Accepted: 21 May 2019 / Published: 24 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Water Resource Geography )
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Abstract

Alterations of water flows resulting from the manifestation of powerful hydro–social imaginaries often produce an uneven distribution of burdens and benefits for different social groups or regions, reflecting their social and political power. Marginalized regions can suffer manufactured territorialized water scarcity, which disturbs the natural, economic and socio-political order of water users, and as this article shows, inevitably affects their psychological wellbeing. Set in the context of the surroundings of Lake Urmia in Iran, once one of the largest hypersaline lakes in the world and now a severely degraded ecosystem mainly as a result of water overuse in its watershed, this article explores how and through which pathways this manufactured water scarcity impacted the mental health of the water users in the region. The research findings reveal that alterations in this local hydro–social territory and the resulting biophysical, financial and social changes, as well as impacts on physical health of water users, relate to chronic psychological stress, social isolation, intra-community conflicts, despair, hopelessness, depression and anxiety. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydro–social territories; mental health; Lake Urmia; manufactured water scarcity; Iran hydro–social territories; mental health; Lake Urmia; manufactured water scarcity; Iran
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Ženko, M.; Menga, F. Linking Water Scarcity to Mental Health: Hydro–Social Interruptions in the Lake Urmia Basin, Iran. Water 2019, 11, 1092.

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