Poor Water Management Poses Environmental Challenge

Poor Water Management Poses Environmental ChallengePoor Water Management Poses Environmental Challenge

Although water scarcity is one of the biggest environmental challenges facing Iran, inefficient management of the valuable resource is largely to blame for a crisis that has emerged over the years, the director of Iran Water Industry Federation said.

"There is no doubt that current critical conditions of Iran's rapidly vanishing wetlands and groundwater resources are mainly due to the inept water management, rather than the drought itself," Abdolreza Foroughi added.

Iranians were once pioneers of water management and innovated techniques such as qanat and aqueducts, but the creative strategies have long been neglected.  

According to the official, the most significant missing strategy is "territory planning" that determines which development project can be implemented in a certain region based on climatic specifications. For instance, water-intensive crops must not be cultivated in regions suffering from water shortage.

Foroughi complained that unfortunately, this issue is very poorly considered by officials.

Mismanagement is also evident in the agriculture sector.

"The revenue earned from the sale and export of many types of crops does not equal the value of water used for their irrigation," Foroughi said. Reportedly, about 92% of the country’s water resources are used up by unsustainable and wasteful farming practices.

"Seeking international collaboration, starting joint agricultural projects with other countries, addressing indirect water wastage and raising public awareness about water shortage are among solutions repeatedly emphasized by authorities, but these have never received adequate attention," he said.

The country's nearly two-decade struggle with drought, combined with high consumption and waste, has caused renewable water resources to drop under 120 billion cubic meters. However, by some accounts, that figure is closer to 88 bcm.

Located in one of the world's most water-stressed regions, Iran's average precipitation rate has been lower than the global average for at least 10 years. Some 37 million Iranians are said to be living in water-stressed regions.


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