Economy, Business And Markets

$10b Fund for Water Crisis

$10b Fund for Water Crisis
$10b Fund for Water Crisis

Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khameni has allowed the withdrawal of $10 billion from the National Development Fund of Iran for financing key water and soil projects amid the country's ongoing water shortage, a senior official said Wednesday.

First Vice President Is'haq Jahangiri said that the money provides the ministry of energy with a golden opportunity to counter the water crisis.

In his meeting with members of the Iranian Council for Water, Jahangiri said the country's water shortage has turned into a serious problem now. "As time goes by, the situation becomes worse, so in addition to taking immediate action, we also need to work on immediate and long term plans to deal with the issue."

Iran is currently suffering one of its driest years to date, with water resources being stretched beyond crisis point. The shortage has been perpetuated by a decade long drought, poor planning and overuse of water resources, say analysts.

Each Iranian uses an average of 66 gallons of water each day, which is said to be twice the world average. Critics say that the overconsumption of water (as well as electricity and gas) stems from heavy subsidies paid by the government, which is said to cover over 65 percent of the utilities costs.  

Jahangiri called on officials to revise water resources management in the upcoming Sixth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (March 2016 – March 2021).  

Hamidreza Janbaz, CEO of the National Water and Wastewater Engineering Company, who also attended the meeting, said that drought and reduced rainfall has decreased water storage in dams near Tehran.

Iran's capital has 3.6 million water consumers, 3.2 million of whom are private users, according to ISNA. Tehran metropolitan area has in excess of 13 million residents.

The Water Council was established for coordinating policies in the field of water supply, distribution, and consumption in Iran. Members of the council include top ministers, lawmakers and industry experts. The council is headed by the president or by the vice president.