Dam Construction Capacity Limited

Dam Construction Capacity LimitedDam Construction Capacity Limited

There is a very limited capacity for dam construction in Iran, that too in small regions in the southern coasts, a deputy energy minister said.

"Water withdrawals cannot exceed 60% of a river flow and the remaining 40% must be left in the environment, that is why there is little capacity to build such structures in the country anymore," Alireza Daemi also told Mehr News Agency.

That applies to areas where safe drinking water goes out of reach, including in the southern coasts of Iran, he added, suggesting that construction of dams in those areas while abiding by international treaties and observing environmental conditions could prevent drinking water from entering the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman.

Daemi said the Energy Ministry does not intend to infringe on water rights, but must consider everything that could pose a threat to the environment.

Iran is the world’s third leading country in dam construction, with some 200 contracting companies, 70 consultant firms and 30 corporations as well as hundreds of hydroelectric manufacturing units operating projects in 40 countries.

Over the past three decades, it has built 600 dams, an average of 20 a year, to irrigate farms and provide electricity.

President Hassan Rouhani's administration has been making revisions on the imprudent trend of dam-building since he took office more than two years ago.

According to Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian, dam construction on a large scale was justified 15 years ago, but not anymore, given the drought and increased water demand from the upstream sector.

According to Daemi, wastewater treatment services extend to only 40% of the country and sewage still occasionally seeps into surface waters in a number of cities.