Water Project With Russia Gains Momentum

Water Project With  Russia Gains MomentumWater Project With  Russia Gains Momentum

Iran is planning to launch a joint venture with Russia to implement feasibility studies aimed at exploring deep-water reservoirs in certain regions, especially in the east.  

“Studies are underway to check whether our country has such a potential. If our surveys reveal underground reservoirs, we should ensure whether the volume is economically viable to be drilled and extracted," Sattar Mahmoudi, Iran's acting energy minister, told Mehr News Agency.

The official noted that based on preliminary research, experts do not reject that Iran may have such reservoirs, yet undertaking further studies necessitates collaboration with other states like Russia whose technical know-how is up-to-date in this respect.

"Plans call for checking whether having access to deep-water tables can affect other mineral resources or not," said Mahmoudi.

According to the official, a part of studies will be conducted on land surface and cutting edge equipment are required for underground resources.

Asked about such feasibility projects to explore groundwater resources in other states, Mahmoudi said Russians have proved to be experienced in this field, which explains why an agreement was signed with them to launch the joint venture in the near future.

"The agreement calls for the cooperation between an (unnamed) Russian enterprise and the Iranian Energy Ministry's water survey institute to explore deep-water reservoirs," he said, adding that provinces in which groundwater exploration will take place have been prioritized by the ministry.

"Given the high cost of the project, groundwater should be used only for drinking and industrial purposes."

He said even though Iran is in a position to explore groundwater on its own, “it makes sense to use the experience of other countries to make rapid progress”.

“Close collaboration with Russia will ensure quick results,” he said.

The ministry estimates that there are between 1.5 and 2 billion cubic meters of undiscovered groundwater in the country.

Experts continuously emphasize that the present water crisis in Iran has three main drivers: rapid population growth and inappropriate spatial population distribution; inefficient agriculture; and rapid urban development and mismanagement.

  Tackling Mismanagement

While discovering more water, especially renewable sources, can help mitigate the looming water crisis, experts believe Iran’s problem is not lack of water but mismanagement and sheer lack of responsibility and accountability.

Located in one of the most arid regions of the planet, Iran’s annual rainfall is a third of the global average.

The government is taking steps to address the widening water crisis, including exploration for new underground water resources and measures to curb wasteful consumption.

According to data from the ministry, average Iranian use is 250 liters of water per day, while daily consumption in metropolises such as Tehran may exceed 400 liters. That means Iran’s water usage is twice the world's standards.

Unsustainable agriculture is another culprit. Wasteful farming practices going back ages gobble 90% of Iran’s water, with a mere 35% efficiency. This pales in comparison to 70% of the developed world.

Consensus among experts, however, is that gross mismanagement, more than any other factor, is at the root of the problem. Rapid development and haphazard expansion of infrastructure with minimal regard for their long-term impact have caused irreversible environmental harm.