Call for Water Planning, as Reserves Halve

Call for Water Planning, as Reserves HalveCall for Water Planning, as Reserves Halve

Head of the Majlis Agriculture, Water and Natural Resources Commission urged the government to devise a plan to manage Iran's water reserves and reduce water consumption.

"A combination of low precipitation and high consumption has halved dam water levels," Mohammad Taqi Tavakkoli said citing official statistics.

Lower dam water levels also force consumers to tap underground reserves, which are being drawn on faster than it is being replenished, Tasnim News Agency reported.

With annual precipitation only a third of the global average, overconsumption has ravaged Iran's available water resources. A 2013 study by the World Resources Institute ranked Iran as the world’s 24th most water-stressed nation, putting it at extremely high risk of future water scarcity.

The government's efforts to cut consumption have mainly been focused on reducing urban water consumption—mostly by pleading to people to reduce wastage. Tavakkoli believes this approach is flawed.

"People just consume 7% of the country's water and if we lower their consumption by 20%, we have only reduced total usage by 1.5%," he said.

Instead, Tavakkoli says it’s the agricultural sector that should bear the brunt of austerity, as it uses 90% of the country's water supply.

"If we cut this figure to 70%, we have saved water equal to the general public's total consumption," he said.

"The Ministry of Agricultural Jihad should reduce total cultivated land. Furthermore, the agricultural sector must be modernized to reduce consumption and increase efficiency."