Zayandeh Roud Esfahan, Iran

Zayandeh Roud River Esfahan , Iran
Photo by Ardeshir Soltani

Zayandeh Roud Isfahan, Iran
or Zayandeh River, Zayandeh Roud River, Zayandeh Rood River

Zayandeh River (Persian: Zayandeh Rud, from Zayandeh “life giving” Rud “river”) (formerly Zendehrood) is the largest river on the central plateau of Iran, Isfahan Province.The Zayandeh starts in the Zagros Mountains and travels 400 kilometres (200 mi) eastward before ending in the Gavkhouni swamp, a seasonal salt lake, southeast of Esfahan city. The Zayandeh has significant flow all year long, unlike many of Iran's rivers which are seasonal. The Zayandeh is spanned by many historical Safavid era bridges, and flows through many parks.

People have lived on the banks of Zayandeh River for thousands of years. An ancient pre-historic culture, the Zayandeh River Civilization, flourished along banks of this river in the 5th Millennium BC.Zayandeh River crosses the city of Esfahan, a major cultural and economic center of Iran. In the 17th century, Shaikh Bahai (an influential scholar and adviser to Safavid dynasty), designed and built a system of canals (maadi), to distribute Zayandeh River water to Esfahan's suburbs. Water from the Zayandeh River helped the growth of the population and the economy, helped established Esfahan as an influential center, and gave a green landscape to Esfahan, a city in the middle of a desert.

Water use and division
Until the 1960s in Isfahan Province the distribution of water followed the Tomar, a document claimed to date from the 16th Century. The Tomar divided the flow of the Zayandeh River into 33 parts which were then specifically allotted to the eight major districts within the region.At the district level the water flow was divided either on a time basis, or by the use of variable weirs, so that the proportion could be maintained regardless of the height of the flow.
For centuries Esfahan city had been an oasis settlement, noted for its surrounding fertile lands and prosperity. Until the 1960s industrial demand for water were minimal, which enabled the scarce water resources to be utilized entirely for agricultural production. With a growing population within the basin, and rising standards of living particularly within the city, the pressure on water resources steadily increased until the division of water Tomar was no longer feasible. The creation of large steel works and other new industries demanded water. The Chadegan Reservoir dam project in 1972 was a major hydroelectric project to help with stabilizing water flow and to provide generation of electricity. The dam was initially named Shah Abbas Dam after Shah Abbas I, the most influential king of the Safavid dynasty, but it was changed to Zayandeh Dam after the Islamic revolution in 1979. Since 1972, the Chadegan Reservoir has helped prevent seasonal flooding of the Zayandeh River. 80% of Zayandeh River water is consumed for agriculture, 10% for human consumption (drinking and domestic needs of a population of 4.5 million), 7% for industry (like the Zobahan-e-Esfahan and Foolad Mobarekeh steel companies and Isfahan's petrochemical, refinery and power plants) and 3% for other uses. There have been a number of tunnel projects (Koohrang) to redirect water from the Karun river (Iran's largest river that also starts in the Zagros Mountains), to the Zayandeh. These have helped provide water for the growing population and new industries in both Isfahan and Yazd provinces.

There are several new and old bridges (pol) over the Zayandeh River. The oldest, Shahrestan, built in 5th century AD, continues to be used today for pedestrian crossing in Sharestan village.

Bridges on Zayandeh River in Esfahan:
Marnan Built in 1599 (pedestrian)
Vahid Bridge Built in 1976
Felezi Bridge Built in 1950s
Azar Bridge Built in 1976
Si-o-se Pol Built in 1632 (pedestrian)
Ferdosi Built in 1980s
Choobi (Joui) Built in 17th century (pedestrian)
Khaju Built in 1650 (pedestrian)
Bozorgmehr Built in 1970s
Ghadir Bridge Built in 2000
Shahrestan Built in 11th century (foundations back to 5th century AD) (pedestrian)

In the section of the Zayandeh River crossing Esfahan, bridges, parks, paddle boats and traditional cafes and restaurants amongst the rest of Esfahan rich cultural heritage, are major tourist attractions for Iranian as well as international visitors. Read more in Wikipedia

Rivers Zayandeh Roud INT 870204-1
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