Evaluation of Water Resources in Zayandeh Rood Basin Using Integrated Surface and Groundwater Footprint Indices

Document Type : Research Paper


1 M.Sc. Student, Department of Water Engineering, Aburaihan Campus, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

2 Associate Professor, Department of Water Engineering, Aburaihan Campus, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.


Declining the quality and quantity of water resources in recent years has threatened food security, health and the development of communities, especially in arid and semi-arid areas. The purpose of this study is to investigate the quantitative and qualitative conditions of surface and groundwater resources in the drinking and irrigation sections of Zayandeh Rood basin that faces political and social sensitivities in addition to the dangers of the arid regions of the Central Plateau of Iran. In this paper, using the integrated groundwater footprint (iGF) and for the first time integrated surface water footprint (iSF) indices as well as applying the Schoeller and Wilcox standards for checking quality of drinking and agricultural water, respectively, water resources status has been evaluated in 2006 and 2016. The average of integrated groundwater management index in Zayandehrud basin for drinking and irrigation purposes in 2006 is equal to 8.9 and 1.3, respectively and these values have decreased to 7.3 and 1.1 in 2016. Furthermore, in 2006 the average of integrated index of surface water footprint for whole basin in drinking and irrigation water were obtained 3.8 and 2.4, respectively and these values have improved to 3.3 and 2 in 2016. However, the results of these two years show a relative improvement in water resources in the Zayandeh Rood Basin, but they are far from acceptable conditions, especially in the drinking water sector, which requires serious attention of decision makers for developing of dynamic plans for sustainable development of this basin.


1. Charchousi, D., & Papadopoulou, M. (2019). An uncertainty analysis approach for ecosystem sustainability based on groundwater footprint. In: E-proceedings of the 38th IAHR World Congress, September 1-6, Panama City, Panama, 1679-1684.
2. Chen, X., Wang, P., Muhammad, T., & Kaili, Y. (2020). Subsystem-level groundwater footprint assessment in North China Plain-The world’s largest groundwater depression cone. Ecological Indicators, 117(5), 106662
3. FAO. (2011). The state of the world’s land and water resources for food and agriculture (SOLAW)-Managing systems at risk. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome and Earthscan, London, http://www.fao.org.
4. Gleeson, T., & Wada, Y. (2013). Assessing regional groundwater stress for nations using multiple data sources with the groundwater footprint. Environmental Research Letters, 8(4), 044010.
5. Hoekstra, A.Y. (2009). Human appropriation of natural capital: a comparison of ecological footprint and water footprint analysis. Ecol. Econ., 68, 1963-1974.
6. Hoekstra, A.Y., & Chapagain, A.K. (2007). Water footprints of nations: water use by people as a function of their consumption pattern. Water Resources Management, 21(1), 35-48.
7. Hoekstra, A.Y., & Hung, P.Q. (2002).  A quantification of virtual water flows between nations in relation to international crop trade: Research Report. Retrived from http://www.ayhoekstra.nl/pubs/Report11.pdf
8. Jingwei, L., Zhifeng, L., Chunyang, H., Huanbi, Y., & Siyuan, G. (2017). Water shortages raised a legitimate concern over the sustainable development of the drylands of northern China: Evidence from the water stress index. Science of the Total Environment, 590-591, 739-750.
9. Karimian, S., Chamani, A., & Shams, M. (2020). Evaluation of heavy metal pollution in the Zayandeh Rood River as the only permanent river in the central plateau of Iran. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 192(5), 1-13.
10. Kourgialas, N. N., Karatzas, G. P., Dokou, Z., & Kokorogiannis, A. (2018). Groundwater footprint methodology as policy tool for balancing water needs (agriculture & tourism) in water scarce islands. Science of the Total Environment, 615, 381-389.
11. Lin, X. (2020). Promoting the Sustainable Utilization of Groundwater Resources in Ethiopia using the Integrated Groundwater Footprint Index. Master Thesis. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Connecticut.
12. Mahdavi, T., & Hosseini, S.A. (2020). Aquifers Sustainability Assessment by Integrated Groundwater Footprint Indicator (Case Study: East Azerbaijan Province). Iran-Water Resources Research. 15(4), 438-542 (In Persian).
13. Maiolo, M., Pantusa, D. (2019). Sustainable Water Management Index, SWaM_Index. Cogent Engineering, 6(1), 1603817.
14. Mays, L.W. (2007). Water resources sustainability. New York, USA, McGraw-Hill.
15. Ministry of Energy. (2011). Integrated water master plan in Gavkhooni basin. Up to 2006. Retrived from Iran Water Resources Management Company. (In Persian).
16. Ministry of Energy. (2016). Integrated water master plan in Gavkhooni basin. Up to 2011. Retrived from Iran Water Resources Management Company. (In Persian).
17. Pérez, J., Hurtado-Patiño, J., Herrera, M., Carvajal, F., Pérez, L., Gonzalez-Rojas, E., & Pérez-García, J. (2019). Assessing sub-regional water scarcity using the groundwater footprint. Ecological indicators, 96, 32-39.
18. Rahpou, F,. Gayoor, H., & Ragabi, Z. (2019). Study on the qualitative changes in water of Zayandeh Rood River using fuzzy logic. Geography and Development, 16(53), 1-18.
19. Rodriguez, P.O., Holzman, M.E., Degano, M.F., Faramiñán, A.M.G., Rivas, R.E., & Bayala, M.I. (2020). Spatial variability of the green water footprint using a medium-resolution remote sensing technique: The case of soybean production in the Southeast Argentine Pampas. Science of the Total Environment, 763, 142963.
20. Salehian, S., & Rahmani fazli, A. (2018). Investigating the environmental consequences of instability of water resources in the catchment area of Zayandehrood river. Natural Geography Research, 50(2), 391-406. (In Persian)
21. Torabipoudeh, H., Younesi, H., & Arshia, A. (2020). Investigating the trend of changes in the quality of groundwater resources and evaluating the IRWQIGC index upstream of Zayandeh Rood dam. Water and Soil Sciences, 24(2), 27-40 (In Persian)
22. Tork, H. (2020). Providing practical solutions for rehabilitation and balancing of Najafabad aquifer using structural, non-structural and combined scenarios. Master Dissertation, College of Aburaihan, University of Tehran, Iran. (In Persian).