Economy, Domestic Economy

Agro Sector Will Get Less Water

Agro Sector Will Get Less Water
Agro Sector Will Get Less Water

Efficient management of water resources in the agriculture sector and providing farmers with water quotas with regard to the area of their land and the arable crops can be a practical solution to tackle water shortage, an advisor to the agriculture minister said Friday.

This way, farmers will receive the amount of water they need due to the type of crops they raise and also the size of their farmland.

“This is expected to result in controlling the currently excessive consumption of water in the agriculture sector,” Hamidreza Janbaz told IRNA.

The government oversees water consumption in industrial sector. However, the agriculture sector has not undergone the same supervision, Janbaz said.

To secure its food production capacities, wheat production in particular, Iran has allocated 93 percent of its water resources to the agriculture sector (according to a report by the Department of Environment). Yet, state estimates put the amount of water wasted in irrigation at 60 percent.

It is crucial to equip all the wells with meters to manage water consumption of the agriculture sector in less than 5 years, Janbaz added.

“Agricultural self-sufficiency cannot justify the destruction of water resources and the government calls for an overhaul of farming and irrigation models,” the minister of agriculture, Mohammad Hossein Shariatmadar, said last Sunday.

“At the present time, 8.7 million hectares are used as irrigated lands which provide 92 percent of domestic agricultural products and the remaining 8 percent is produced in dry lands,” Janbaz said.

Iran is located in an arid zone and the country has repeatedly faced drought in the past 40 years. Competition for water is intense in the region where Iran is located and its neighbors notably Afghanistan and Iraq, are obsessed with water shortages of their own. Iran’s annual precipitation is only a third of the global average.

Iran, with its growing population, deals with acute water shortage. Changes in the global climate, a century of rampant development and heavy subsidies for water and other utilities are all contributing to a situation that is likely to get much worse. A large number of villages and cities complain about shortages and rely on water tankers for supplies.

The Rouhani administration seeks a long-term strategy to reverse the damage done to groundwater supplies and aims to improve irrigation systems and curb the desertification and deforestation that have grown at an alarming pace. Iranian authorities often urge heavy users to cut back their consumption; however, they have tried water rationing as an alternative solution to tackle the problem.

The water allotted to agricultural development will be reduced by almost 50 percent in accordance with a proposal by the Department of Environment. The ministry of energy will accordingly provide only 50 billion cubic meters of water for agriculture instead of the 85 to 90 billion provided before, ISNA reported last Sunday.