Analysis of social reasons for the destruction of rural water resources (Case study: rural areas of Mazandaran)

Document Type : Research Paper


University of Mazandaran, Babolsar, IRAN


Extended Abstract
Economic activities in Mazandaran province have included traditional methods of agricultural production and exploitation of water resources for these activities but a new kind of production has been formed that is based on production to make a profit. The aim of this study is to use the production treadmill theory to examine the following questions: 1- What effect has the growth of agricultural production had on water resources? 2. What effect have workers had on water resources? 3. How have government agencies affected water resources? In this research, the documentary method has been used. The findings show that in this new type of operation, water resources are destroyed by newer technologies with greater depth, intensity and scope. The research results showed that the theory provides a good sociological explanation for the factors that destroy water resources.

In Mazandaran province, agricultural and livestock production has existed since ancient times and these activities play an important role in its economy. So that from the total area of Mazandaran province, 470 thousand hectares are agricultural lands (370 thousand hectares of irrigated and 170 thousand hectares of rainfed, which in addition to the second irrigated and rainfed cultivation is 650 thousand hectares). In this province, 400 km of modern irrigation network with a cultivated area of 80,000 hectares, 763 dams with an area of 17,000 hectares and a reserve volume of 379 million cubic meters, as well as 7,000 km of rivers flowing in Mazandaran province, water is required. Provide agricultural activities.
It is obvious that water plays an essential role in all agricultural, horticultural and animal husbandry activities, and any water problems will have important consequences at the regional and national levels. Although now 70 types of agricultural products and 22 products with the first rank of production in the country, are cultivated in the province and this is one of the reasons why Mazandaran is generally considered as an area without water problems, but the problems and challenges Diversity is related to the water situation in Mazandaran province. Among them: 1- During the last ten years, the potential of surface water resources in the province has decreased from 4.5 billion cubic meters to 3.8 billion cubic meters. 2- In Mazandaran province, more than 90% of the water that is controlled annually is used in the agricultural sector, which, considering that Mazandaran is the agricultural hub of Iran, accounts for a large part of the waste. 3- Mazandaran is one of the provinces with high consumption of chemical fertilizers, especially phosphate, which in addition to soil pollution, leads to the entry of chemical pollutants into water resources.
In Mazandaran province, the destruction of water resources includes two types: 1- Water pollution caused by the discharge of industrial, agricultural and domestic wastewater into water resources 2- Irregular withdrawal and out of capacity of water resources. The present article examines the following questions using Schneiberg's treadmill theory:
1- What effect does the growth of production and agriculture have on the water resources of Mazandaran?
2- What effect do workers and residents of Mazandaran province have on Mazandaran's water resources?
3- What is the effect of the government and government institutions on the water resources of Mazandaran?
In this research, documentary method has been used to investigate the role of each factor of production in the destruction of water resources.
Results and discussion
The production of the treadmill theory places the primary responsibility for environmental degradation on the competitive nature of capitalism and the role of government in facilitating industrial growth. This view, put forward by Schnaiberg, attributes economic growth to environmental pollution. The main claim of this approach is that the growing level of investment and accumulation in modern capitalist economies is one of the main drivers of environmental disorders.
According to Schnaiberg's theory, the three main axes of destruction of water resources in Mazandaran province include the following axes:
1-Manufacturing companies, agro-industries, livestock and poultry feed production and sales factories, etc., with the aim of increasing profits, to increase economic growth and increase agricultural production by increasing investment and the use of new agricultural technologies and thus increasing the speed and intensity of exploitation of water resources, also use a variety of fertilizers and pesticides on the other hand, these productive capitalists are supported by the government and workers because of job creation opportunities for workers, as well as due to the payment of taxes and the provision of government funding, and the destruction they cause in water resources is ignored by the other two axes.
2-The second axis is the group of workers, the local community and farmers, who on the other hand are affected by the bad conditions of water resources resulting from capitalist productive activities and on the other hand, they are affected by the bad economic conditions that affect the environmental demands and tendencies or their economic demands. This group sees the boom and increase in production as more job opportunities, and at the same time, they accept the greatest impact from the destruction of the province's water resources.
3. The third axis is the government, which on the one hand is the intermediary between the two previous groups and must provide the economic conditions and grounds for job creation, and on the other hand is committed to protecting the environment and creating sustainable development. Which government fulfills its obligations depends on the economic, social and environmental conditions, and the economic and environmental pressures and demands of the other two groups will affect the government's actions and policies on water resources.
The three main axes of water resources destruction in Mazandaran province, including:
1- Manufacturing companies, agro-industries, factories producing and selling livestock and poultry feed that use water resources inappropriately in order to increase profits.
2- Workers and the local community, where increased production sees more job opportunities.
3- The government that is affected by economic and environmental pressures and demands.

Keywords: Rural Areas, Production Treadmill Theory, Water Resources, Agricultural Activities, Industrial Production.


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 31 December 2020
  • Receive Date: 13 July 2020
  • Revise Date: 30 December 2020
  • Accept Date: 31 December 2020