Water Crisis as Crucial as Nuclear Issue

Water Crisis as Crucial as Nuclear IssueWater Crisis as Crucial as Nuclear Issue

The government has made minimum investment to help revive subterranean water channels known as ‘qanat’ in recent decades; whereas, $1.5 billion was spent on Gotvand Dam despite all environmental disasters it unleashed not only for farmers but also for regional biodiversity, deputy director of the Center for Strategic Studies and Research told ILNA.

Addressing a panel on ‘Qanat for Future Generations’, Mohammad Fazeli remarked,” Water related issues are, and should be, deemed as important as nuclear energy challenges in our foreign policy.”

Highlighting the fact that those with special expertise should set rules on water management strategies, the official questioned the competence of “opulent beneficiaries” who decide water policies, calling for an overhaul of water regulations, in particular those associated with, or related to,  the revival and protection of the qanats.

The official echoed oft-mentioned concerns over the worsening water crisis in the country and its huge impact on the future of agriculture and the survival of natural habitats. “Overusing underground water tables and violating the subterranean water channels will lead to irreparable losses,” the new agency quoted him as saying.     

Upper Gotvand Dam, or simply the Gotvand Dam, is an embankment dam on the Karun River about 12 km (7.5 miles) northeast of Gotvand in the southern Khuzestan Province. It currently has an installed capacity of producing 1,000 MW with another 1,000 MW in the second phase.

A quant is one of a series of well-like vertical shafts, connected by gently sloping tunnels. Qanats create a reliable supply of water for human settlements and irrigation in hot, arid, and semi-arid climates.

Quant technology is known to have been developed by the Persians sometime in the early 1st millennium BC. The value of a qanat is directly related to the quality, volume, and regularity of the water flow. Much of the population in Iran historically depended on qanats for water.

Iran is ranked the world’s 24th most water-stressed nation, a study by the World Resources Institute said, putting the country at extremely high risk of future water scarcity. In the past 50 years, the growing population has used up almost 70 percent of Iran’s groundwater supply.

Iran is headed for a water crisis of epic proportions, and much needs to be done to reverse the decades-long dangerous trend that has the potential to transform large swathes of valuable farmlands into parched and uninhabitable territory, or something akin to deserts.