24 Dams to Become Operational

24 Dams to Become Operational24 Dams to Become Operational

Twenty four dams are planned to go into operation by the end of the year (started March 21), Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian said.

There are 121 water supply projects across the country, including megacities of Tehran, Isfahan and Tabriz as well as Shiraz and Zahedan, Chitchian was quoted by Fars News Agency as saying on Saturday. The minister announced five major dams started operations last year, underlining Shahr-e Bijar dam in Gilan Province in the north as one of the energy ministry's major projects last year that helped deliver water to 14 cities and hundreds of villages.

In addition, the energy ministry expanded the water supply network to 1660 small towns and villages last year at a cost of $90.2 million, Fars News Agency reported.

However, the minister stressed that precipitation in the September-March period declined by 15 percent compared to the same period last year. Furthermore, downpours have declined by 17 percent compared to the past 47 years. Dams on average are operating with less than 50 percent of their overall capacity, he noted. Iran has an annual average precipitation of 252 millimeters, which is approximately one third of the global average.

  Water Rationing

Chitchian called for judicious consumption of water in the hot season, warning that water could be rationed in summer.

Precipitation has been below average in most provinces, with level of water resources in 13 provinces "extremely critical and in 11 provinces in alarming condition."

The treatment of industrial wastewater, promotion of greenhouse cultivation besides overhaul of irrigation systems are among measures to help curb water consumption.

Iran traditionally pumps water from underground reserves to supply consumption needs, notably for agriculture. The depletion of such reserves has been blamed for severe drought, diminishing soil fertility, plus desertification.

The official also reiterated that power consumption had a five percent year-on-year rise last year. "Consumption is to rise by five percent this year."

Electricity consumption should reduce by 2,500-3,000 MW this summer given the recent drop in precipitation and the demand to generate 15 percent of electricity from dams, according to the Iran Power Generation and Transmission Company (Tavanir).