Mounting Water Consumption Depleting Dams’ Reserves

Mounting Water Consumption Depleting Dams’ ReservesMounting Water Consumption Depleting Dams’ Reserves

Iran is struggling to reduce water consumption in the agricultural and energy sectors despite a marked rise in its water reserves, data published this week by the Energy Ministry showed.

A total of 36.3 billion cubic meters of water have been drawn from 169 dams nationwide between Sept. 23, 2015—the beginning of the current Iranian water year—and the end of August, up from 28.3 billion cubic meters in the same period the year before, Mehr News Agency reported.

According to the report, the lion’s share of water is being used by the agricultural and energy sectors despite efforts to revamp outdated farming practices and inefficient irrigation methods to curb wasteful consumption of the precious and dwindling resource.

The inflow of water in dams shows a 59% rise year-on-year. Iran’s dams took in 44.2 bcm of water in Sept-Aug, compared to 27.8 billion cubic meters during the same period the year before.

The agency said dams are at 53% of their total storage capacity that is nearly 50 billion cubic meters.

Last month the government approved a plan to allocate $500 million to upgrade irrigation systems across the country. The sector devours around 90% of Iran’s water resources every year with hardly 30% efficiency.

According to official data, Iran’s precipitation rate from the beginning of the current water year has decreased by 2% compared to the long-term average. Long-term average of rainfall is estimated at 236 millimeters.

A 2013 study by the World Resources Institute ranked Iran as the world’s 24th most water-stressed nation, putting it at an extremely high risk of water scarcity.

Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian has blamed low tariffs for profligate use of water in the agricultural sector, saying that water is delivered to farmers at barely 5% of its real cost.

According to the minister, Iran has consumed more than 86% of its renewable water resources. A region wherein more than 40% of renewable water resources are exhausted is classified as water-stressed.