Economy, Domestic Economy

New Dams to Help Address Water Shortage

New Dams to Help Address Water Shortage New Dams to Help Address Water Shortage

Iran will be able to access 4 billion cubic meters of water upon the completion of unfinished dams across the country, Energy Ministry Hamid Chitchian announced on Saturday.

The ministry of energy is awaiting central bank’s approval to allocate $8.5 billion in finance for establishing 1.5 million hectares of new irrigation and drainage network upon the completion of the unfinished dams.

Addressing a conference in Tehran focusing on water and power, Chitchian said, “Limited water resources and the water pollution are among major challenges facing the ministry.” Among other challenges, he said, are “provision of reliable electricity sources” and “making balance between revenues and costs in water and electricity industries.”            

“Water and electricity cogeneration coastal units will allow for desalination of one billion cubic meters of water annually for drinking, industries and industrial farming purposes,” he said, during the gathering mainly attended by top energy managers.

 Watershed Coordination Councils

For the first time in the country, watershed coordination councils have been set up to help revive Zayandeh-Rood river, Urumia Lake and Karkheh River, Chitchian announced, as the three regions  have badly been affected by severe droughts in recent years.

“12 years ago, provincial water management authorities started a dangerous race to meet their water demands. The ministry is trying to reverse the trend so that national resources do not fall victim to aimless provincial competition,” he said.

 Underground Water Extraction

So far, the ministry of energy has approved 15 plans through the Supreme Council for Water to create balance in extraction of underground waters. It has also allocated 6 trillion rials in next year budget law to the issue, up from 1.2 trillion rials this year.

Officials hope the undertaking aids could reduce 20 percent of unpermitted extraction from water wells.

 Completion of Border Projects

During the conference, the minister noted that President Hassan Rouhani’s special support for the completion of border projects resulted in Leader’s approval to allocate $8 billion from the resources of the National Development Fund of Iran (NDFI) to this purpose.

It is expected that the assistance curb 7 billion cubic meters out of 10.5 billion cubic of waters that leave the country, Chitichian added.

 Water Delivery to Farmers

The ministry of energy intends to modernize irrigation and drainage networks so that measured volumes of water are delivered to farmers and water consumption in agriculture is monitored.

“A significant number of cities are threatened by water shortage as consumption and provision of water are equal. Therefore, increased consumption within a couple of days may result in water shortage in some parts of these cities,” the minister said.

Although the ministry is determined to redress the situation, Chitchian said, “financial problems have prevented us from purchasing steel sheets needed for pipe manufacturing so far, slowing down the operation.”

Despite Rouhani’s support, the required finance has not yet been provided due to the problems commercial banks have faced, he noted.