Water is a valuable resource for which demand often exceeds supply in dry climates. Managing limited water resources becomes increasingly difficult in circumstances of recurring drought, rising populations, rapid urbanisation, industrial development, and financial constraints, such as occur in Iran. Newspapers both report on and influence people’s understanding of water-related issues. An analysis was undertaken of two major Iranian daily newspapers over a 7-year period. Structure Query Language (SQL) was employed to identify relationships among a total of 1275 records/fields which were extracted from 84 water-related news items. They were analysed for message, contributor, spatiality and allocated space. Of the water-related items, wetlands comprised 33% (class), public awareness 54% (message), local level 56% (spatiality), and authorities 53% (contributor). Space allocation on each page was mostly <40% (94% of items). Four examples were highlighted of ambitious engineering projects adopted in response to water distribution issues. It is concluded that the general lack of educating messages about water use efficiency in rural areas and water consumption in cities does not assist in developing positive water-saving local behaviours. Newspapers could be a useful tool in a broader strategy for addressing and managing the demand side of the water crisis in Iran.
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