113 Dams Under Construction

113 Dams Under Construction113 Dams Under Construction

The construction of 113 new dams is underway with priority given to those with 25% progress, of which three to four dams are expected to become operational by March 2016, an advisor to the Energy Ministry said.      

Around 1.9 billion cubic meters of water evaporate annually from dams nationwide, Mohammad Haj-Rasouliha was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.

“The country’s strategic water resources have shrunk by 26 billion cubic meters to 104 bcm … This is the main challenge we are facing today.” Chah Nimeh reservoirs are located 50 kilometers from Zabol. Surplus water from Hirmand River flows into them through a canal. These reservoirs, with a capacity of 700 million cubic meters, equal roughly one-seventh of Hamoun Wetland.  However, 355 million cubic meters evaporate from Chah Nimeh.

Iran is pressing ahead with new dam projects, despite calls by experts to curb the trend of dam-building. Last month, Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian said dam-building on a large scale was justified 15 years ago, but not anymore.

Experts say heedless dam construction poses a threat to the environment, desiccating some of the country's water-rich areas.

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.

Iran's average precipitation has fallen to 205 mm in the past 15 years, down from 250 mm some 15 years ago. Average rainfall is around 750 millimeters in the world while Iran’s annual precipitation is only a third of the figure. 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.