Water Trade in Informal Markets
Economy, Domestic Economy

Water Trade in Informal Markets

Iran’s water crisis has surpassed the critical point. But even as citizens are faced with the crippling challenge on a daily basis, the approach adopted by the relevant authorities show no sign of urgency toward the issue, Forsat Emruz newspaper reported.
Since water rights are allocated to parties in ownership of land adjacent to a body of water, and as it is not possible to transfer water rights legally due improper implementation of relevant regulations, about 20 to 50 percent of the farmers’ incomes are spent towards paying water charges to those in possession of water resources through informal markets, according to director of economic studies, tariffs and privatization in Iran Water Resources Management Company (IWRMC), Ali Akbar Ghobadi.
Acknowledging the existence of informal water trade in the country, the official said, “No record of informal water trade is available as such activities are illegal and people refuse to reveal information.”
He urged the authorities to address the issue, suggesting reallocation of agriculture water to the industrial sector to help improve the sector. “According to the law for fair distribution of water, water rights can be transferred to other sectors through formal procedures,” he said.
Pointing to the unenthusiastic response by farmers in allocating water wells to the industrial sector, the official called for immediate legal allocation of water wells in view of the current draught.
“The ministry of energy is responsible for protecting the rights of both parties in water trade as well as supervising the quantity of harvested water,” said Ghobadi, adding that the amount of water to be extracted from each well is limited through installing water meters on the wells to avoid over exploitation.
The water challenge in Iran is multifaceted, with economic, social, political and environmental dimensions. The quality of water in Iran is rapidly deteriorating due to overuse and mismanagement.
Deputy for project and planning at IWRMC, Majid Sayyari blames the parliament members for proposing unjustified water projects, noting that all government authorities are responsible for the present dilemma.
“Canal irrigation was considered as a common surface-flooding irrigation method; however, as the price of water has increased, water pipes are more efficient for that purpose,” he said, noting that the energy ministry will make use of other countries’ experience.

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