Plan to Supply Persian Gulf Water to Eastern Provinces

Plan to Supply Persian Gulf Water to Eastern ProvincesPlan to Supply Persian Gulf Water to Eastern Provinces

The Energy Ministry is studying plans to supply water from the Persian Gulf to three eastern Iranian provinces, which will help address the nationwide drought and water shortage that have particularly affected the eastern regions, Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian said.

Earlier this month, the provincial governors of Khorasan Razavi, South Khorasan and Sistan-Baluchestan provinces called on First Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri to accelerate the south-to-east water supply plan, IRNA reported.

Chitchian stressed that shortage of water in South Khorasan, among other provinces, is particularly alarming.

"Despite the minimal rainfall in South Khorasan, more than 90% of precipitation in the province evaporate due to the region's vast desert terrains," he said.

The ministry is mulling plans to embark on water treatment and supply from the Sea of Oman to the eastern regions. However, with no concrete plan in hand as well as a lack of funding, such plan seems farfetched in the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile, the government has discussed the idea of importing water from neighboring countries, Tajikistan and Azerbaijan in particular. But it is still months away from reaching a major conclusion on water trade, according to Chitchian.

This is while experts effectively rule out water import from the northern neighbors, as they are already grappling with water shortage.

  Distressing Situation

While Iran has been grappling with perpetual drought for 14 years, the drought-stricken South Khorasan has been dealing with the phenomenon for the past 17 years.

Despite modest rainfall in spring, latest studies suggest that the province is struggling with drought, with 37% of South Khorasan facing moderate drought, 50% dealing with severe drought and 3% grappling with extreme drought.

Even though South Khorasan has an extensive water supply network, inhabitants of more than 400 villages rely on mobile water tanks for drinking water, which reportedly visit each village once a week.

Average rainfall is around 750 millimeters in the world, while Iran's average precipitation has fallen to 205 mm in the past 15 years, down from 250 mm before a long and hard drought cast a shadow over the country.

Iran is located in the world’s most water-stressed region and with annual precipitation only a third of the global average, heavy overconsumption has ravaged its available water resources.

However, despite the severe water crisis in South Khorasan, the province is self-sufficient in electricity generation.

With an installed power production capacity of 780 megawatts and electricity demand of 275 MW during peak hours, South Khorasan is a hub of electricity export in the east.